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Federal Republic of Germany

Bundesrepublik Deutschland


FLAG: The flag is a tricolor of black, red, and gold horizontal stripesthe flag of the German (Weimar) Republic from 1919 until 1933.

ANTHEM: Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit (Unity and Justice and Liberty).

MONETARY UNIT: The euro replaced the deutsche mark as the official currency in 2002. The euro is divided into 100 cents. There are coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 euro and 2 euros. There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. 1 = $1.25475 (or $1 = 0.79697) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; German Unity Day, 3 October; Repentance Day, Wednesday before the 3rd Sunday in November (except Bavaria); Christmas, 2526 December. Movable religious holidays include Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension, and Whitmonday. In addition, the movable Carnival/Rose Monday holiday and various provincial holidays also are celebrated.

TIME: 1 pm = noon GMT.


Germany is located in western Europe, bordering the North Sea between France and Poland. Germany is slightly smaller than the state of Montana, with a total area of 357,021 km sq (137,847 mi sq). Germany shares boundaries with Denmark and the Baltic Sea on the n, Poland and the Czech Republic to the e, Austria to the se, Switzerland to the s, France to the sw, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands to the w, and the North Sea to the nw. Germany's boundary length totals 6,010 km (3,734 mi), of which 2,389 km (1,484 mi) is coastline. Germany's capital city, Berlin, is located in the northeastern part of the country.


The topography of Germany is varied. The area along the Baltic coast is sandy, with dunes and small hills. Adjacent to the coast are forested ridges and numerous lakes of the Mecklenburg lake plateau. Around Berlin, the relief is less hilly. The southern limit of the lowland area is formed by a wide zone of fertile loess, reaching from Magdeburg to the highlands in the South. These highlands include the Harz Mountains; the densely wooded Thuringian Forest and the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains), where the Fichtelberg rises to 1,214 m (3,983 ft). In the northeast, the wide German lowlandcharacterized by sandy North Sea shores, heath and moor (in the south), and highest altitudes of about 300 m (1,000 ft)rises slowly to the central Germany uplands. These low, eroded mountains (1,0701,520 m/3,5005,000 ft) extend from the Rhine to the former border of East Germany.

In the west are a wide rift valley and a narrow gorge carved by the Rhine River. A group of plateaus and low mountains, averaging 460 m (1,500 ft) in altitude and including the Black Forest and Odenwald Mountains (highest peak, the Feldberg, 1,493 m/4,898 ft), form the greater part of southern Germany. They merge gradually with the highest walls of the Bavarian Alps (2,4402,740 m/8,0009,000 ft), which form the boundary between Germany, Switzerland, and Austria; the Zugspitze (2,962 m/9,718 ft), on the Austrian border, is the highest point in Germany.

The only major lake is Lake Constance (Bodensee; within Germany, 305 sq km/118 sq mi), which is shared with Switzerland and Austria. Except in the extreme south, all of Germany is drained by rivers that empty into the North Sea. The Rhine, with its two main tributaries, the Mosel and the Main, dominates the western areas; farther east are the Ems, the Weser, the Elbe, and the Oder. These rivers have estuaries that are important for the ports located there. In the south, the Danube flows from west to east. The East Frisian Islands are off the northwest coast; the North Frisian Islands lie along the coast of Schleswig. The small island of Helgoland is opposite the mouth of the Elbe River.


The climate is temperate; rapid changes in temperature are rare. Average temperatures in January, the coldest month of the year, range from 1.5°c (35°f) in the lowlands to -6°c (21°f) in the mountains. July is the warmest month of the year, with average temperatures between 18°c (64°f) in low-lying areas to 20°c (68°f) in the sheltered valleys of the south. The upper valley of the Rhine has an extremely mild climate. Upper Bavaria experiences a warm alpine wind (Föhn) from the south. The Harz Mountains form their own climatic zone, with cool summers, cold wind, and heavy snowfalls in winter.

Precipitation occurs throughout the year: in the northern lowlands, from 51 to 71 cm (2028 in); in the central uplands, from 69 to 152 cm (2760 in); in the Bavarian Alps, to more than 200 cm (80 in). The higher mountains are snow covered from at least January to March.


Plants and animals are those generally common to middle Europe. Beeches, oaks, and other deciduous trees constitute one-third of the forests; conifers are increasing as a result of reforestation. Spruce and fir trees predominate in the upper mountains, while pine and larch are found in sandy soil. There are many species of ferns, flowers, fungi, and mosses. Fish abound in the rivers and the North Sea. Wild animals include deer, wild boar, mouflon, fox, badger, hare, and small numbers of beaver. Various migratory birds cross Germany in the spring and autumn. As of 2002, there were at least 76 species of mammals, 247 species of birds, and over 2,600 species of plants throughout the country.


Industrialization has taken its toll on Germany's environment, including that of the former GDR, which, according to a 1985 UNESCO report, had the worst air, water, and ground pollution in Europe. Since 1976, the Petrol Lead Concentration Act has limited the lead content of gasoline; for control of other automotive pollutants, the government looked toward stricter enforcement of existing laws and to technological improvements in engine design. The Federal Emission Protection Act of 1974, based on the "polluter pays" principle, established emissions standards for industry, agriculture and forestry operations, and public utilities. Nevertheless, by 1994, 50% of Germany's forests had been damaged by acid rain.

Germany has 107 cu km of renewable water resources, of which 86% are used for industrial purposes. Water pollution is evident in virtually every major river of the FRG, and the Baltic Sea is heavily polluted by industrial wastes and raw sewage from the rivers of eastern Germany. In the 1980s, the Rhine, from which some 10 million Germans and Dutch draw their drinking water, was 20 times as polluted as in 1949. Between November 1986 and January 1987 alone, 30 tons of mercury, 900 lb of pesticides, 540 tons of nitrogen fertilizers, and 10 tons of benzene compound were discharged into the river. The Effluency Levies Act, effective January 1978, requires anyone who discharges effluents into waterways to pay a fee reckoned in accordance with the quantity and severity of the pollutant; the proceeds of this act are allocated for the building of water treatment plants and for research on water treatment technology and reduced-effluent production techniques.

Significant sources of air pollution include emissions from coal-burning utility plants and exhaust emissions from vehicles using leaded fuels. In 1996 industrial carbon dioxide emissions totaled 861 million metric tons. However, the total carbon dioxide emissions in 2000 was down to 785.5 metric tons. The nation has set maximum levels for biocides in the soil, to protect food supplies. Under the nation's basic waste disposal law of 1972, some 50,000 unauthorized dump sites have been closed down and 5,000 regulated sites established; provisions governing toxic wastes were added in 1976. Germany's principal environmental agency is the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety, created in June 1986.

In 1970, the first German national park, with an area of 13,100 hectares (32,370 acres), was opened in the Bavarian forest, and in 1978 a second national park (21,000 hectares/52,000 acres) was opened near Berchtesgaden. The third national park, in Schleswig-Holstein (285,000 hectares/704,250 acres), opened in 1985, and a fourth, in Niedersachsen (240,000 hectares/593,000 acres), opened in 1986. The Messel Pit Fossil Site became a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. There are also 32 Ramsar wetland sites. As of 2003, 32.6% of Germany's total land area is protected. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 9 types of mammals, 14 species of birds, 12 species of fish, 9 types of mollusks, 22 species of other invertebrates, and 12 species of plants. Endangered species include Freya's damselfly, Atlantic sturgeon, slender-billed curlew, and the bald ibis. Species believed to be extinct include the Bavarian pine vole, Tobias' caddisfly, the wild horse, and the false ringlet butterfly.


The population of Germany in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 82,490,000, which placed it at number 14 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 18% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 15% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 95 males for every 100 females in the country.

Because of a low birthrate, an aging population, and emigration, Germany's population generally declined from the mid-1970s until around 1990. A heavy influx of immigrants in the 1990s more than compensated for the slight population loss due to more deaths than births. Although the annual growth rate in the 1980s was only 0.1%, immigration in the 1990s led to an annual growth rate in that decade of 0.8%. With immigration slowing, according to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be -0.1%, a rate the government viewed as too low.

The projected population for the year 2025 was 82,017,000. The population density was 231 per sq km (598 per sq mi).

The UN estimated that 88% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 0.19%. The capital city, Berlin, had a population of 3,327,000 in that year. Other large urban areas are: the Rhein-Main urban agglomerate, which includes Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Offenbach and Wiesbaden, 3,721,000; the Rhein-Neckar urban agglomerate which includes, Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Heidelberg, Mannheim, Frankenthal, Neustadt an der Weinstrasse and Speyer 1,625,000; the Rhein-Ruhr Middle urban agglomerate, which includes, Düsseldorf, Mönchengladbach, Remscheid, Solingen and Wuppertal 3,325,000; the Rhein-North urban agglomerate which includes, Duisburg, Essen, Krefeld, Mühlheim an der Ruhr, Oberhausen, Bottrop, Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Dortmund, Hagen, Hamm and Herne 6,566,000; the Rhein-South urban agglomerate which includes Bonn, Cologne (Köln) and Leverkusen 3,084,000; the Saarland urban agglomerate which includes Neunkirchen, Saarbrücken and Saarlouis 896,000; Hamburg, 2,686,000; Stuttgart, 2,705,000; Munich (München), 2,318,000; Hanover (Hannover), 1,296,000; Bielefeld, 1,312,000; Nurenberg (Nürnberg), 1,206,000; Aachen, 1,073,000; Karlsruhe, 990,000; Saarland, 896,000; and Bremen, 889,000.


From 1946 to 1968, 475,505 Germans emigrated to the United States, 262,807 to Canada, and 99,530 to Australia and Oceania. During the same period, however, millions of people of German origin and/or speech migrated to West Germany from eastern Europe, notably from the former Czechoslovakia and East Germany. Migration from East Germany to West Germany reached a climax just before the erection of the frontier wall in Berlin on 13 August 1961. It is estimated that about 4 million peoplemany of them skilled workers and professionalscrossed from East Germany to West Germany during the 40-year existence of East Germany. Immigration of ethnic Germans from Poland continued to be heavy after 1968, totaling about 800,000 between 1970 and 1989.

According to German law, persons who are not ethnic Germans are foreigners (except for the few granted citizenship) even if they were born and have spent their entire lives in Germany. Conversely, ethnic Germans are not foreigners even if emigrating from birthplaces and homes in eastern Europe.

From 1992 until 1996, 560,000 ethnic Germans (out of a total of 1.1 million in 1989) had left Central Asia for Germany. These returning ethnic Germans were formerly deported by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin during World War II as they were living in the Volga region and other parts of the former Soviet Union.

Some 350,000 Bosnians were granted temporary protection in Germany in the early 1990s. Repatriation plans began for the Bosnians in October 1996, when 30,000 Bosnians repatriated voluntarily. During 1998, approximately 83,000 people returned to Bosnia under the Government-Assisted Return Programme (GARP). Another 2,021 were returned forcibly. By 1999, more than 250,000 Bosnians had returned to their homeland.

Under the UNHCR/IOM Humanitarian Evacuation Programme, 14,689 people had been evacuated from Macedonia to Germany as of 1999. The evacuees, as well as Kosovars who had already sought asylum in Germany but whose cases were still pending or already rejected, were granted temporary protection, renewable every three months. As of 20 August 1999, 4,147 evacuees had returned to their homeland. In 2005 Germany returned 51,000 Kosovars, including 34,000 Roma to the UN-administered province.

Germany remains the third-largest asylum country in Europe, receiving 876,622 refugees in 2004. The main countries of origin were Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey, Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Russia, and Iran. Of these refugees 86,151mainly from Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey, Iraq, Russia, Iran, India, and Pakistansought asylum. In 2005 slow job growth in Germany caused many young Germans to migrate abroad for jobs, inspiring the term "reverse foreign worker."

The 2004 estimate of worker remittances received by Germany was $6 billion. However, it was also estimated that in that same year Germany was the source of $10 billion in remittances. The 2005 estimate of Germany's net migration rate was 2.18 migrants per 1,000 population.


Until the late 1950s, the population was 99% German; the Danes in Schleswig-Holstein were the sole national minority. The influx of foreigners as "guest workers" beginning in the late 1950s led to an upsurge in the number of permanent foreign residents. Germans account for about 91.5% of the total population. About 2.4% of the population are Turkish. Other minority groups include Italians, Greeks, Poles, Russians, Serbo-Croatians, and Spanish. Even persons born and reared in Germany are considered foreigners unless they are ethnically German or naturalized. The Roma (Sinti) were recognized as "national minorities" in 1995.


German is the official language, and although dialectical variations are considerable, High German is standard. Low German, spoken along the North and Baltic Sea coasts and in the offshore islands, is in some respects as close to Dutch as it is to standard German. Sorbian (also known as Wendish or Lusatian) is a Slavic language spoken by the Sorbian minority. Under the GDR it was taught in schools in their settlement area. There was a daily newspaper in Sorbian and a publishing house for Sorbian literature. Many of Germany's sizable foreign-born population still speak their native languages, and there are numerous Turkish-speaking school children. Romani is spoken by the nation's small Roma population; the language has no written form and the Roma generally restrict the use of the language to within their own community.

In 1996, new rules were established reforming German orthography. Designed to eliminate the last vestiges of Gothic spelling, the rules, among other things, eliminated hyphens, restored some umlauts, and replaced the ß character. Confusion ensued when newly published dictionaries differed in their spellings of many words.


According to a 2004 report, the Evangelical Church, a federation of several church bodies including Lutheran, Uniate, and Reformed Protestant Churches, has about 27 million members, accounting for 33% of the population. Church officials report that only about 4% of members attend services on a regular basis. The Catholic Church also has 27.2 million members, or 33.4% of the population, with only about 17.5% of members active. Muslims make up approximately 3.43.9% of the populace with 3.1 to 3.5 million practitioners. Orthodox churches claim 1.1 million members, or 1.3% of the people. The Greek Orthodox Church is the largest division, followed by Romanian, Serbian, Russian (Moscow Patriarchate and Orthodox), Syrian, and Armenian Apostolic. Other Christian churches have about one million members, or 1.2% of the population. The largest of these are the New Apostolic Church (430,000 members), Jehovah's Witnesses (165,000 members), Baptists (87,000 members), and Methodists (66,000 members). Smaller groups include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Seventh-Day Adventists, the Apostolate of Jesus Christ, Mennonites, Quakers, and the Salvation Army.

About 87,500 members of Jewish congregations live in Germany, making up 0.1% of the populace. There were also small numbers of Unification Church members, Scientologists, Hare Krishnas, members of the Johannish Church, Buddhists, the International Grail Movement, Ananda Marga, and Sri Chinmoy. Approximately 21.8 million people, or 26.6% of the population, belonged to smaller religious organizations or had no religious affiliation at all.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed, and although there is no official state religion, churches can receive financial support from the government.


Although the German transportation network was heavily damaged during World War II, the system is now one of the best developed in Europe (although much of the infrastructure in the former East Germany needs significant improvement). Because of the country's central location, almost all continental surface traffic has to cross its terrain. In 2004, the railroad system consisted of 46,142 km (28,700 mi) of operational standard and narrow gauge track. Of that total, standard gauge lines accounted for 45,928 km (28,567 mi), of which 20,084 km (12,492 mi) was electrified. Narrow gauge lines accounted for 238 km (148 mi), of which only 16 km (10 mi) was electrified. The greater part of Germany's rail system is operated by the government-owned Federal Railways System.

Highways and roads in 2003 totaled 231,581 km (144,043 mi), all of which were paved. As of 2003, there were 45,022,926 passenger cars and 3,541,193 commercial vehicles in use.

The total length of regularly used navigable inland waterways and canals was 7,300 km (4,540 mi) in 2004. Canals link the Elbe with the Ems, the Ems with the Dortmund, and the Baltic with the North Sea. The most important inland waterway consists of the Rhine and its tributaries, which carry more freight than any other European waterway. The Kiel Canal is an important connection between the Baltic Sea and North Sea. Major ports and harbors include Berlin, Bonn, Brake, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Cologne, Dresden, Duisburg, Emden, Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Kiel, Lubeck, Magdeburg, Mannheim, Rostock, and Stuttgart. In 2005, the FRG had a merchant fleet comprised of 332 ships of 1,000 GRT or more with a combined capacity of 5,721,495 GRT.

Germany had an estimated 550 airports in 2004. As of 2005, a total of 332 had paved runways, and there were also 33 heliports. Major airports include Schonefeld, Tegel, and Tempelhof at Berlin, Halle at Leipzig, Osnabruck at Munster, as well as those at Bremen, Dresden, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hanover, Cologne-Bonn, Stuttgart, Nurenberg, and Munich. Lufthansa, organized in 1955, is the major air carrier; its route network includes both North and South America, the Near and Far East (including Australia), Africa, and Europe. In 2003, about 72.693 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international airline flights, and 7,298 million freight ton-km of service was performed


Hunting and gathering peoples roamed the land now known as Germany for thousands of years before the first farmers appeared in the sixth millennium bc. By the time these Indo-Europeans made contact with the Romans late in the 2nd century bc, the Teutons of the north had driven most of the Celts westward across the Rhine. During the succeeding centuries, Germanic tribes such as the Alemanni, Burgundians, Franks, Lombards, Vandals, Ostrogoths, and Visigoths gradually developed in the territory between the Rhine estuary in the west, the Elbe River in the east, and northern Italy in the south. Some of these peoples, whom the Romans called barbarians (from the Latin barbari, meaning "foreigners"), overran Italy and helped destroy the Roman Empire; others settled in Britain, France, and Spain. The area on either side of the Rhine was contested until Charlemagne, king of the Franks (r.768814), extended his domain to include most of Germany as far as the Elbe; he was crowned emperor at Rome in 800. Charlemagne's empire was eventually divided among his three grandsons, and the German sector itself was divided in the latter part of the 9th century.

Otto I, greatest of a new Saxon dynasty, united Germany and Italy and was crowned first Holy Roman emperor in 962. The strength of the rising Holy Roman Empire was undercut, however, by the two-pronged involvement in Italy and in Eastern Europe. Successive generations of Germanic emperors and of various ducal families engaged in constant struggles within Germany as well as with the papacy, and dispersed their energies in many ventures beyond the confines of the empire. Frederick I (Barbarossa, r.115290), of the Hohenstaufen family, overcame the last of the powerful duchies in 1180. His grandson Frederick II (r.121250), the most brilliant of medieval emperors, reigned from Sicily and took little interest in German affairs. Four years after his death, the empire broke up temporarily, and there followed a 19-year interregnum. In 1273, Rudolf of Habsburg was elected emperor, but neither he nor any of his immediate successors could weld the empire into a manageable unit.

The Holy Roman Empire's loose and cumbersome framework suffered from lack of strong national authority at the very time when powerful kingdoms were developing in England, France, and Spain. In the ensuing period, the Holy Roman emperors tended to ally themselves against the nobility and with the prosperous German cities and with such potent confederations of towns as the Hanseatic and Swabian leagues. During the 15th century and part of the 16th, Germany was prosperous: commerce and banking flourished, and great works of art were produced. However, the already weak structure of the empire was further undermined by a great religious schism, the Reformation, which began with Martin Luther in 1517 and ended in the ruinous Thirty Years' War (161848), which directly and indirectly (through disease and famine) may have taken the lives of up to two million people. Thereafter, Germany remained fragmented in more than 300 principalities, bishoprics, and free cities. In the 18th century, Prussia rose to first rank among the German states, especially through the military brilliance of Frederick II ("the Great," r.174086).

During the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, German nationalism asserted itself for the first time since the Reformation. Although frustrated in the post-Napoleonic era, the nationalist and liberal movements were not eradicated, and they triumphed briefly in the Frankfurt parliament of 1848. Thereafter, a number of its leaders supported the conservative but dynamic Prussian chancellor, Otto von Bismarck. After a series of successful wars with Denmark (1864), Austria (the Seven Weeks' War, 1866), and France (the Franco-Prussian War, 187071), Bismarck brought about the union of German states (excluding Austria) into the Second Empire, proclaimed in 1871.

Germany quickly became the strongest military, industrial, and economic power on the Continent and joined other great powers in overseas expansion. While Bismarck governed as chancellor, further wars were avoided and an elaborate system of alliances with other European powers was created. With the advent of Wilhelm II as German emperor (r.18881918), the delicate international equilibrium was repeatedly disturbed in a series of crises that culminated in 1914 in the outbreak of World War I. Despite initial successes, the German armiesleagued with Austria-Hungary and Turkey against the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and eventually the United Stateswere defeated in 1918. As a consequence of the war, in which some 1,600,000 Germans died, the victorious Allies through the Treaty of Versailles (1919) stripped Germany of its colonies and of the territories won in the Franco-Prussian War, demanded the nation's almost complete disarmament, and imposed stringent reparations requirements. Germany became a republic, governed under the liberal Weimar constitution. The serious economic and social dislocations caused by the military defeat and by the subsequent economic depression, however, brought Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist (Nazi) Party to power in 1933. Hitler converted the republic into a dictatorship, consolidated Germany's position at home and abroad, and began a military expansion that by 1939 had brought a great part of Europe under German control, either by military occupation or by alliance, leading to World War II.

Germany signed a military alliance with Italy on 22 May 1939 and a nonaggression pact with the former USSR on 23 August. Hitler's army then invaded Poland on 1 September, and France and Britain declared war on Germany two days later. France surrendered on 22 June 1940; the British continued to fight. On 10 December 1941, Germany declared war on the United States, three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor by its ally Japan. Hitler's troops were engaged on three major frontsthe eastern front (USSR), the North African front, and the western front (France). Hitler relied heavily on air power and bombed Britain continuously during 194142. But by 1943, German forces were on the defensive everywhere, thus marking the beginning of the end of the Nazi offensive thrusts. Finally, on 7 May 1945, after Hitler had committed suicide, the Allies received Germany's unconditional surrender. It is estimated that more than 35 million persons were killed during World War II. Of this number, at least 11 million were civilians. Among them were nearly 6 million Jews, mostly eastern Europeans, killed in a deliberate extermination by the Nazi regime known as the Holocaust; there were also about 5 million non-Jewish victims, including Gypsies, homosexuals, political dissidents, and the physically and mentally handicapped.

From Division to Reunification

After the surrender in 1945, Germany was divided into four occupation zones, controlled respectively by the former USSR, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. Berlin was like-wise divided, and from April 1948 through May 1949 the USSR sought unsuccessfully to blockade the city's western sectors; not until the quadripartite agreement of 1971 was unimpeded access of the FRG to West Berlin firmly established. In 1949, pending a final peace settlement, Germany was divided into the Federal Republic of Germany, or West Germany, consisting of the former United Kingdom, French, and US zones of occupation, and the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, consisting of the former Soviet zone of occupation. Territories in the east (including East Prussia), which were in German hands prior to 1939, were taken over by Poland and the former USSR.

The FRG's first chancellor (194963), Konrad Adenauer, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), followed a policy of "peace through strength." During his administration, the FRG joined NATO in 1955 and became a founding member of the EC in 1957. That same year, the Saar territory, politically autonomous under the Versailles Treaty but economically tied to France after 1947, became a German state after a free election and an agreement between France and the FRG. A treaty of cooperation between those two nations, signed on 22 January 1963, provided for coordination of their policies in foreign affairs, defense, information, and cultural affairs. The cost of this program of cooperation with the West was further alienation from the GDR and abandonment, for the foreseeable future, of the goal of German reunification. Many citizens, including a significant number of skilled and highly educated persons, had been covertly emigrating through Berlin in the West, and on 13 August 1961, East Berlin was sealed off from West Berlin by a wall of concrete and barbed wire. The Western Allies declared that they accepted neither the legality nor the potential practical consequences of the partition and reaffirmed their determination to ensure free access and the continuation of a free and viable Berlin.

On 16 October 1963, Adenauer resigned and was succeeded by former Finance Minister Ludwig Erhard, who is generally credited with stimulating the FRG's extraordinary postwar economic developmentthe so-called economic miracle. Kurt George Kiesinger of the CDU formed a new coalition government on 17 November 1966 with Willy Brandt, leader of the Social Democratic Party, as a vice-chancellor. Three years later, Brandt became chancellor, and the CDU became an opposition party for the first time. One of Brandt's boldest steps was the development of an "Eastern policy" (Ostpolitik), which sought improved relations with the Socialist bloc and resulted, initially, in the establishment of diplomatic ties with Romania and the former Yugoslavia. On 7 December 1970, the FRG signed a treaty with Poland reaffirming the existing western Polish boundary of the Oder and western Neisse rivers and establishing a pact of friendship and cooperation between the two nations. That August, the FRG had concluded a nonaggression treaty with the former USSR; a 10-year economic agreement was signed on 19 May 1973. Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, tensions over the Berlin division in particular and between the two Germanys generally eased markedly, as did, in consequence, the intensity of pressures from both Allied and Soviet sides over the issue of reunification. In an effort to normalize inter-German relations, FRG Chancellor Willy Brandt and GDR Chairman Willi Stoph exchanged visits in March and May 1970, the first such meetings since the states were established. A basic treaty between the two Germanys was reached on 21 December 1972 and ratified by the Bundestag on 17 May 1973; under the treaty, the FRG recognized the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the GDR, and the two nations agreed to cooperate culturally and economically. Two years later, the GDR and FRG agreed on the establishment of permanent representative missions in each others' capitals. Relations with Czechoslovakia were normalized by a treaty initialed 20 June 1973. The early 1970s brought an upsurge of terrorism on German soil, including the killing by Palestinians of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. The terrorist wave, which also enlisted a number of German radicals, continued into the mid-1970s but declined thereafter.

Brandt remained chancellor until 6 May 1974, when he resigned after his personal aide, Günter Guillaume, was arrested as a spy for the GDR. Helmut Schmidt, Brandt's finance minister, was elected chancellor by the Bundestag on 16 May. Under Schmidt's pragmatic leadership, the FRG continued its efforts to normalize relations with Eastern Europe, while also emphasizing economic and political cooperation with its West European allies and with the United States. Schmidt remained chancellor until the fall of 1982, when his governing coalition collapsed in a political party dispute. General elections in March 1983 resulted in a victory for the CDU, whose leader, Helmut Kohl, retained the chancellorship he had assumed on an interim basis the previous October. In January 1987 elections, Kohl was again returned to power, as the CDU and its coalition allies won 54% of the seats in the Bundestag.

The exodus of East Germans through Hungary in the summer of 1989 as well as mass demonstrations in several East German cities, especially Leipzig, led to the collapse of the German Democratic Republic in the fall of 1989. Chancellor Kohl outlined a 10-point plan for peaceful reunification, including continued membership in NATO and free elections in March 1990. Following these elections, the two Germanys peacefully evolved into a single state. Four-power control ended in 1991 and, by the end of 1994, all former Soviet forces left the country, although British, French, and American forces remained for an interim period. Berlin became the new capital of Germany, although the shift from Bonn to Berlin took place over several years.

Unification has been accompanied by disillusionment and dissatisfaction with politics and the economy. A falling GDP and rising unemployment have raised concerns that the costs of unification were underestimated. By 1997, the German government had given more than $600 billion to eastern Germany through business subsidies, special tax breaks, and support payment for individuals, while private companies invested $500 million more. Even so, the eastern German economy was fundamentally bankrupt with unemployment at about 20%. Some analysts predict that convergence of the two economies will not be complete for another 10 to 20 years. In the meantime, the financial drain imposed on Bonn by the east threatened to imperil Germany's other convergence project, European economic unification. However, Germany and 11 other EU countries introduced a common European currency, the euro, in January 2002.

By October 1996, Chancellor Helmut Kohl had been in office for 14 years, becoming the longest-serving postwar German chancellor. In 1998, German voters decided it was time for a change. In the September parliamentary elections, Kohl's CDU (Christian Democratic) coalition was defeated by the SPD, and Gerhard Schröder became the first Social Democrat in 18 years to serve as Germany's chancellor. The following month, Schröder formed a center-left coalition with the Green Party. The new coalition inaugurated "Future Program 2000" to tackle the country's economic woes and in June 1999 pushed through the most extensive reform package in German history, which included major cuts in state spending as well as tax cuts. In April 1999, the German government was transferred from Bonn back to its prewar seat in Berlin, where the Bundestag moved into the renovated (and renamed) building formerly known as the Reichstag.

In July 1999 Johannes Rau became the first Social Democrat to be elected president of Germany in 30 years. However, continuing dissatisfaction with the nation's budget deficit and other problems resulted in a disappointing showing for the Social Democrats in local elections in September 1999.

In July 2000 government negotiators reached an agreement on the payment of compensation to persons subjected to forced and slave labor under the Nazi regime. A total of dm10 billion was to be paid out under the auspices of a specially created foundation. Official figures showed that racist attacks increased by 40% in 2000, a worrying trend.

In June 2001, the government and representatives from the nuclear industry signed an agreement to phase out nuclear energy over the next 20 years.

Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., Germany agreed to deploy 4,000 troops to the US-led campaign in Afghanistan directed to oust the Taliban regime and al-Qaeda forces. It was Germany's largest deployment outside Europe since World War II, and in November, Schröder survived a parliamentary confidence vote following his decision to deploy the troops.

Parliamentary elections were held on 22 September 2002. Schröder, unable to campaign on a strong economy, staked out a foreign policy position that ran counter to that of the United States. Throughout 2002, the United States and the United Kingdom were committing troops to the Persian Gulf region, and, in the event that Iraq would not disarm itself of any weapons of mass destruction it might possess, it was evident that the United States and the United Kingdom might use those troops to force a regime change in Iraq. Schröder announced Germany unconditionally would not support a war in Iraq, and that Germany was in favor of a peaceful settlement to the conflict. Edmund Stoiber of the CDU was Schröder's opponent in the September elections, and the race between them was exceedingly close. Stoiber took a more nuanced position on the question of Iraq, and accused Schröder of damaging German-American relations. Stoiber was more popular with voters on matters of fighting unemployment (9.8% nationwide), and improving a sluggish economy. The SPD and CDU/CSU each won 38.5% of the vote, but the SPD emerged with 251 to 248 seats in the Bundestag (due to a peculiarity in the German voting system which awards extra seats to a party if it wins more constituency seats than it is entitled to under the party vote), and in coalition with the 55 seats won by the Green Party, formed a government with Schröder remaining chancellor.

The UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441 on 8 November 2002, calling upon Iraq to disarm itself of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons or weapons capabilities, to allow the immediate return of UN and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) weapons inspectors, and to comply with all UN resolutions regarding the country since the end of the Gulf War in 1991. The United States and the United Kingdom indicated that if Iraq would not comply with the resolution, "serious consequences" might result, meaning military action. The other three permanent members of the Security Council, France, Russia, and China, expressed their reservations with that position. Germany became a two-year (nonveto bearing) member of the Security Council in January 2003, and aligned itself with France, the most vocal opponent of war. The United States and the United Kingdom abandoned diplomatic efforts at conflict resolution in March, and on 19 March, the coalition went to war in Iraq. Once coalition forces defeated Iraq and plans for reconstruction of the country were being discussed in April, Germany stressed the need for a strong role to be played by the UN in a postwar Iraq.

Although Schröder was popular for his position toward Iraq, he became increasingly criticized for the economic underperformance of Germany. Major challenges included the growing level of unemployment, high level of state deficit, and the slow economic growth. During Schröder's second term, Germany became the world's largest exporter of goods, surpassing the United States.

The high unemployment level became quite astonishing, because Germany's low unemployment rate was at one point the envy of the industrial world. In the year 2000, Germany's unemployment rate exceeded 8%. By the end of 2002 over four million people were unemployed in Germany. The unemployment level in 2004 climbed to an even higher mark. The situation got worse in early 2005, when Germany's Federal Labor Agency announced that on January 2005 more than five million Germans were unemployed, which was the highest number since 1932, when the economic devastation of the Great Depression brought the Weimar Republic to an end. The important unemployment level during the first three month of 2005 triggered a negative reaction, even from those who supported the government. Critics complained that the Social Democrat-Green administration of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was not doing enough.

In addition to the high rate of unemployment Germany also experienced growing state deficit, which meant that it spent more than it earned. In the early 1990s Germany pressured the EU to change its rules, such that no EU member state's deficit could be more then 3% of its GDP, but Germany in 2002 was in fact breaking this rule with a GDP of 3.75%. Furthermore, Wirtschaftsund Währungspolitik Bulletin and Federal Statistics Office reported that in 2004 Germany's budget deficit remained at 3.7% of its gross domestic product, which means that it exceeded the European Union's rules for the third year in a row.

Germany has struggled to produce GDP growth of even 1% a year. In comparison to the other Western European countries, from 1995 to 2003 the Western European economies, averaged together, grew by 18.1%, but in Germany it experienced growth of only 10.2%. Although, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden reported that in May 2005 the German economy experienced some improvement by expanding at the greatest pace since 2001, slightly rebounding from a contraction. Unfortunately, consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, has not increased for some time.

To deal with the economic challenges in 2003 Gerhard Schröder launched a major reform package called "Agenda 2010." Agenda 2010 was Schröder's plan to reform Germany's declining economy and restore Germany's competitiveness in the world market. This policy aimed to reform health, education, labor training, social security, family welfare, unemployment benefits, and pensions. Agenda 2010s priority was labor-market reform. Neither these reforms nor reduced taxation did much to improve the slow economic growth or lower the unemployment that had reached especially great proportions since the Great Depression.

Following the protests on 1 January 2005 the government's controversial reform of unemployment benefits, also called "Hartz IV" reform, came into effect. Under this reform, those who have been unemployed for over a year would qualify for a flat-rate benefit, only if they could prove that they were actively looking for work. Schröder's inability to deal with the weak economy was thought to have contributed to his loss of the chancellery in the 2005 elections to Angela Merkel (CDU/CSU). A very tense election race followed by an alliance between the two opposing parties; the CDU/CSU and the SDP became known as the Grand Coalition. On 10 October 2005 Merkel officially became the chancellor of Germany.

Merkel defined the main goal of her government as reducing unemployment, and improving GDP growth. It was her goal to improve the German economy by pursuing a mix of reforms including cutting public spending, lowering corporate tax rates, accelerating labor-market, and pushing through other reforms begun by Merkel's predecessor. She also intended to increase value-added tax, social insurance contributions, and the top rate of income tax.

During her first few months in office, Angela Merkel attained an 85% approval rating. During the third quarter of 2005, the economy posted a 0.6% increase over the previous year's period and it was forecasted that Germany's GDP would grow by 1.61.8% in 2006. Although Germany's unemployment rate was still at 11.3%, it had been gradually decreasing since mid-2005.

Angela Merkel presided over a fragile coalition government consisting of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), and the left-leaning Social Democratic Party (SDP). Consequently, to push any reforms or programs through, she would have to be able to work together with the Social-Democrats.

In the field of foreign policy, Angela Merkel acknowledged the importance of Franco-German relations. She intended to maintain Germany's strong ties with France; however, not as exclusively as they used to be. Merkel was interested in working with the new EU member states and repairing relations with the United States. During Merkel's term it was thought that Germany might become less involved with Russia due to her criticism of the Russian president, Putin's, policies in Chechnya and human rights abuses. Germany would continue to support Turkey in its desire to become a European Union member state and to support Iraq from outside. The next chancellery election was scheduled for November 2009.


Germany is a federal republic founded in 1949. Germany's Basic Law (Grundgesetz) or its constitution, was promulgated on 23 May 1949. On 3 October 1990, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic were unified in accordance with Article 23 of the Basic Law, under which the FRG is governed. German governmental structure consists of three branches: the executive branch represented by a president (titular chief of state) and a chancellor (executive head of government), a legislative branch composed of a bicameral parliament, and a judicial branch represented by the independent Federal Constitutional Court. The federal government exercises complete sovereignty and may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the legislature.

The federal chancellor and his or her cabinet ministers and the federal president compose a federal executive branch. This branch is situated at the center of the German political system, where the chancellor is the head of federal government and an elected president performs the largely ceremonial functions of proposing the chancellor to the Bundestag, promulgating laws, formally appointing and dismissing judges and federal civil servants, and receiving foreign ambassadors. The president is elected for a five-year term by a federal convention composed of members of the Bundestag and an equal number of delegates elected by the provincial legislatures.

Every four years, after national elections and seating of the newly elected Bundestag (parliament) members, the federal president nominates a chancellor candidate to that parliamentary body and the chancellor is elected by majority vote in the Bundestag. Since a chancellor can only be elected by a coalition possessing a majority of the seats in parliament, each individual chancellor belongs to a particular party and represents the ideologies of that party. The Bundestag cannot remove the chancellor simply with a vote of no-confidence. The Basic Law allows only for a "constructive" vote of no-confidence; that is, the Bundestag can remove a chancellor only when it simultaneously agrees on a successor.

The chancellor's authority is drawn from the provisions of the Basic Law and from his or her status as leader of the party (or coalition of parties) holding a majority of seats in the Bundestag. The chancellor has powers of patronage and agenda-setting circumscribed by coalition government. Thus, the chancellor outlines federal policy and declares guidelines for cabinet ministers. Any formal policy guidelines issued by the chancellor are legally binding directives and must be implemented by the cabinet ministers. Guideline power allows the chancellor to interfere in any policy issue and to determine the government's approach to the problem.

Ministers are appointed and dismissed by the federal president with chancellor's approval; no Bundestag approval is needed. By and large, the chancellor and ministers are accountable to the Bundestag.

The bicameral legislature (the federal parliament) consists of a federal council (Bundesrat) and a federal diet (Bundestag).

The Bundestag is the principal legislative chamber in the parliament. Members of the Bundestag are the only federal officials directly elected by the public. The Bundestag had 497 voting deputies in 1987; 22 nonvoting deputies represented West Berlin. Following unification, Bundestag membership was raised to 662 deputies; as of September 2005 it stood at 614. Elections are held every four years (or earlier if a government falls from power). Candidates must be at least 18 years of age. Bundestag members are elected for four-year terms by universal, free, and secret ballot, and may be reelected. The most important organizational structures within the Bundestag are parliamentary groups (Fraktionen), which are formed by each political party represented in the chamber. Among other things, the Bundestag may introduce federal bills. However, it usually responds to federal bills introduced by the federal government or by the federal council.

The Bundesrat is the body that represents the interests of the states (Länder) within this federal structure. It consists of 69 representatives appointed by the provincial governments according to the population of each province. Each state has three to six votes depending on population and is required to vote as a block. The federal council participates in the Federation's policymaking and thus acts as a counterweight to the federal diet (Bundestag). It also serves as a link between the federation and the federal states' delegations representing the governments of the states. It can reject any federal bill and it has an absolute veto power over any federal legislation that has an impact on the states.

Disagreements between the two chambers are handled by a conciliating committee.


The "five percent clause," under which parties represented in the Bundestag must obtain at least 5% of the total votes cast by the electorate, has prevented the development of parliamentary splinter groups. In order to become a leading force in the parliament, parties have to win the local elections and become a majority by building coalitions. The coalition that receives the most votes respectively has the most votes in the parliament. Since party elections happen on the regional level, consistency of the parliament depends on the outcome of the Länder's elections.

The chancellor of Germany always belongs to the coalition of the parties that received the largest number of seats in the Bundestag. The chancellor seemingly could push his reforms by counting on the support of his coalition. However, coalitions do not agree on everything and often are fragmented. In addition, there is some fragmentation within each party. Additionally, after the German unification, there has been noticeable discrepancy between east and west because Western and Eastern Germany had different patterns of party developments.

Looking back, only three parties gained representation in the Bundestag following the elections of September 1965. The Christian Democratic Union (Christlich-Demokratische UnionCDU) and its Bavarian affiliate, the Christian Social Union (Christlich-Soziale UnionCSU), with 245 seats, remained the strongest group, as it had been since the first Bundestag was elected in 1949. The Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei DeutschlandsSPD) increased its seats to 202 and remained the major opposition party. The Free Democratic Party (Freie Demokratische ParteiFDP), winning 49 seats, joined with the CDU and the CSU to form the "small coalition" government of Chancellor Ludwig Erhard.

The coalition government was dissolved in October 1966, following a budgetary disagreement between the CDU/CSU and the FDP. In November 1966, the CDU/CSU joined with the SPD to form a new coalition government, but following the general elections of September 1969, the SPD and FDP formed a coalition government with a combined strength of 254 seats. The elections of November 1972 resulted in a coalition composed of the SPD's 230 seats and the FDP's 42, over the CDU/CSU's 224 seats. Following the resignation of SPD leader Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt (SPD) was elected chancellor by the Bundestag in May 1974 by a 267255 vote. The SPD/FDP coalition retained its majorities in the elections of 1976 (SPD 214, FDP 39) and 1980 (SPD 218, FDP 53).

In the general election of 25 January 1987, the results were as follows: CDU/CSU, 44.3% (223 seats); FDP, 9.1% (46 seats); SPD, 37% (186 seats); and the Greens, 8.3% (42 seats). The first all-Germany elections were held 2 December 1990. The results were as follows: CDU/CSU, 43.8% (319 seats); SPD, 33.5% (239 seats); FDP, 11.0% (79 seats); and Greens, 1.2% (8). The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), successor to the SED (Communist party), won 2.4% of the vote and 17 seats. East German parties were allowed to win seats if they received at least 5% of the vote in East Germany. After the breakup of the coalition in 1982, however, the CDU/CSU swept to victory in the voting of March 1983, winning 244 seats and 48.8% of the vote, compared with 226 seats (44.5%) in 1980 and 243 seats (48.6%) in 1976. The swing party, the FDP, took 34 seats (6.9%) and joined the CDU/CSU in a coalition behind Chancellor Helmut Kohl. The SPD polled 38.2% (down from 42.9% in 1980) and captured 193 seats, for a drop of 25.

The CDU and CSU emphasize Christian precepts but are not denominational parties. They favor free enterprise and are supported by small business, professional groups, farmers, and Christian-oriented labor unions. In foreign policy, the CDU/CSU alliance supports European integration and the strengthening of NATO.

The SPD is the oldest and best organized of all German parties. In recent decades it has modified its traditional Marxist program and made an appeal not only to industrial workers but also to farmers, youth, professional people, and the petty bourgeoisie. Its revised Godesberg Program (1959) envisages a mixed economy, support for European integration and NATO, public ownership of key industries, a strong defense force, and recognition of religious values.

The FDP is a more heterogeneous organization, consisting of both classical liberals and strongly nationalistic groups. The party is supported mainly by business interests and Protestant groups. It rejects socialism or state capitalism in principle. The Greens (Die Grünen) constitute a coalition of environmentalists and antinuclear activists; in 1983, they became the first left-wing opposition party to gain a parliamentary foothold since the Communists won 15 seats in 1949. In 1990, in cooperation with Alliance 90, a loose left-wing coalition, the Greens were able to clear the 5% hurdle and win Bundestag seats.

The October 1994 elections saw a weakening of the Free Democratic and Christian Democratic coalition and a strengthening of the Social Democrats and the Greens. The Christian Democrats won 41.5% of the vote and the Free Democrats 6.9%. This gave the governing coalition 341 seats in parliament and a majority of only 10 seats as compared to its previous 134-seat edge. The combined opposition alliance took 48.1% of the vote (331 seats): the Social Democrats took 36.4%; the Greens, 7.3%; and the former Communists in eastern Germany (now called the Party of Democratic Socialism), 4.4%.

Kohl's CDU-CSU coalition was weakened further in the September 1998 parliamentary elections, winning only 245 seats (35.1%), compared with 298 for the SDP (40.9%). Seats won by other parties were as follows: Greens, 47; Free Democrats, 44; and Party of Democratic Socialism, 35. Following the election, Germany's new chancellor Gerhard Schröder formed a center-left coalition government with the Green Party.

Elections held in September 2002 saw both the SPD and the CDU-CSU coalition each win 38.5% of the vote; however, the SPD came away with 251 seats to 248 for the CDU-CSU. The SPD renewed its coalition with the Greens, who took 8.5% of the vote and 55 seats, and Schröder remained chancellor. The Free Democrats took 7.4% of the vote and 47 seats, and the PDS won 4.3% of the vote and held 2 seats in the Bundestag. On 23 May 2004, Horst Koehler was elected president with the next election scheduled for May 2009.

In the November 2005 elections, Gerhard Schröder (SPD/Greens coalition) lost the chancellery office to Angela Merkel (CDU/CSU-FDP coalition). It was the first time in German history that one of the two larger parties has nominated a woman for this position. The election campaign turned into a tense race of Merkel running against Schröder. Election polls fluctuated as well as did the predictions of the election results. Polls showed that right before the election day, at least a quarter of German voters were still undecided.

Germany held the elections on 18 September 2005, except in a constituency in Dresden that held the elections on 2 October. Unsurprisingly, both candidates came close with the Christian Democrats receiving only 1% more votes and four more seats than the SPD. Exit polls showed that neither coalition group had won a majority of seats in the federal diet (Bundestag), and both parties lost seats compared to 2002. The SPD/Green coalition fell from 306 seats (in a house of 603) to 273 seats (in a house of 614). At the same time the CDU/CSU-FDP coalition fell from 295 seats to 286 seats. In the final distribution of seats in the federal diet, CDU got 180 seats, CSU received 46 seats, FDP gained 61 seats, SPD got 222 seats, the Greens remained with 51 seats, and the recently formed left-wing Left Party (or PDS/WASG alliance) climbed up to 54 seats. The next parliamentary elections were to be held September 2009.

Neither of the coalitions (SPD-Greens and CDU/CSU-FDP) could achieve a majority of vote in the federal diet (Kandzler-mehrheit) that is required to elect a chancellor. Both chancellors claimed a victory, but to make it functional, they had to negotiate with all of the parties to form an appropriate winning coalition. On 10 October, a round of negotiations ended with the Grand Coalition between the CDU/CSU and the SPD. Angela Merkel officially became chancellor on the condition that 16 seats in the new cabinet would be equally split up between the CDU/CSU and the SPD and with the SPD controlling 8 out of the 14 ministries, including the ministries of foreign affairs and finance.


The Basic Law guarantees local self-government, and the states (Länder) are granted all powers not specifically reserved to the federal government. The Federal Republic consists of 13 Länder, and 3 free states (Freistaaten); Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern (Freistaat), Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Sachsen(Freistaat), Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, and Thueringen (Freistaat).

Länder each have ministerial governments and legislatures. They have primary responsibility for the maintenance of law and order; jurisdiction over their own finances, taxes, and administration; and supreme authority in education and other cultural activities. Through the Bundesrat, the Länder have considerable influence in federal legislation and can prevent the central government from imposing radical reforms.

Communes (Gemeinden) are the basic units of local government, apart from the municipalities, and have the right to regulate such local matters as those involving schools, building, cultural affairs, and welfare. Halfway between the Länder and the communes are the counties (Landkreise), which have autonomy in such matters as road building, transportation, and hospitals. They are administered by a Landrat, the chief official, and a Kreistag (country legislature).


Cases of the first instance are tried by local or Landkreis courts and the superior courts in each of the Länder. The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, the court of last resort in regular civil and criminal cases, consists of members appointed by a committee that includes federal and Land ministers and several Bundestag members. A court of appeal and the several Land and Landkreis courts are subordinate to the Karlsruhe tribunal. Special courts handle administrative, labor, financial, and social welfare matters. The Federal Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, has competence to decide problems concerning the Basic Law and to test the constitutionality of laws. The court has 16 members: one 8-member panel elected by a committee of the Bundestag, the other by the Bundesrat.

The judiciary is independent of the legislative and judicial branches and remains free from interference or intimidation. The Basic Law provides for the rights to a fair trial and prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home and correspondence. The government authorities generally respect these prohibitions.


The unification of Germany in 1991 brought the amalgamation of the People's Army of the German Democratic Republic and the Bundeswehr of the Federal Republicon the Bundeswehr's terms, modified by political guidance. Essentially, West Germany abolished the East German Ministry of Defense and officer corps, but kept much of the GDR's Russian equipment and a few of its career officers and noncommissioned specialists. The Bundeswehr occupied East German military installations and found many of them beyond repair for training and suitable housing. The Bundeswehr moved eastward with all deliberate speed, especially since six Russian divisions and a tactical air force still remained in German installations. (With dependents these dispossessed Russians numbered almost 500,000). Meanwhile, Germany's NATO allies still maintained an integrated ground and air forces of almost 250,000 troops in western Germany, although this force shrank with the departure of the Canadian and Belgian forces, and the reduction of the American and British contingents in the 1990s.

The German active armed forces in 2005 numbered 284,500, supported by 358,650 reserves. Active Army personnel numbered 191,350. The German Army has large amounts of equipment including 2,398 main battle tanks, 409 reconnaissance vehicles, 2,067 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 3,123 armored personnel carriers, and 1,682 artillery pieces. In addition, the Germans have abundant air defense weapons, helicopters, engineering equipment, and sophisticated antitank weapons.

The German Navy has 20,700 active memebers, including 3,700 naval aviation personnel. The Navy operates 13 tactical submarines and 14 major surface combat vessels (all frigates), 14 patrol and coast combatants, and 23 mine warfare ships.

The German Air Force numbered 51,400 active personnel in 2005. It is structured into the Air Force Command and Transport Command. Equipment for the air force includes 417 combat capable aircraft and 96 transport aircraft of all types.

In 2005 Germany's defense budget totaled $30.2 billion. German armed forces are actively involved in peacekeeping and UN missions abroad. Germany has troops in France and Poland, and trains with the United States military.


The Federal Republic of Germany became a full member of the United Nations on 18 September 1973; it belongs to several nonregional specialized UN agencies. It is also an active participant in the Council of Europe, the European Union, NATO, OECD, OSCE, the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Caribbean Development Bank, G-5, G-7, G-8, and the Paris Club (G-10). Germany is a permanent observer of the OAS and a nonregional member of the West African Development Bank. The country is a member of the WTO.

Germany has supported UN operations and missions in Kosovo (1999), Ethiopia and Eritrea (2000), Sierra Leone (1999), and Georgia (1993). Germany is part of the Australia Group, the Zangger Committee, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Group), the Nuclear Energy Agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

In environmental cooperation, Germany is part of the Antarctic Treaty; the Basel Convention; Conventions on Biological Diversity, Whaling, and Air Pollution; Ramsar; CITES; the London Convention; International Tropical Timber Agreements; the Kyoto Protocol; the Montréal Protocol; MARPOL; the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change and Desertification.


Germany, with a GDP of $2.83 trillion (at market exchange rate) and $2.43 trillion (purchasing power parityPPP) in 2005, has the world's third-largest economy in exchange-rate terms and the fifth-largest economy measured by PPP. It is the largest economy in Europe. More than in most other advanced economies, manufacturing remains at the heart of the German economy, although the share of overall industrial output (excluding construction) in GDP declined from 26.9% in 1992 to 22.6% in 2002. As of 2005, the steelmaking sector in the Ruhr region had declined significantly, and agriculture had become a sector of only marginal importance for the economy as a whole.

Before unification in 1990, GNP in West Germany increased at an annual average rate of 7% between 1950 and 1960 and 5.4% between 1960 and 1970. This rate slowed to 3.1% between 1970 and 1980 and 2.3% between 1980 and 1990. However, the unification of Germany in October 1990 proved a heavy economic burden on the west. In 1992, the former East Germany accounted for only 8% of GDP. Transfer payments and subsidies for the east resulted in a large public deficit. Alarmed at the potential for inflation, the Bundesbank pursued a tight monetary policy. This boosted the value of the mark and had a recessionary effect on the European economy. The unemployment rate in 1993 was 7.3% in the west, but 15.8% in the east because so many antiquated, inefficient enterprises were unable to compete in a market economy. These factors led to the recession of 199293 with growth in the GDP dropping to 1.1%. The economy recovered in 1994, posting a growth rate of 2.9%, but declined to 1.9% in 1995 and 1% in 1996.

Strong exports in 1997 were expected to bring the growth rate back to 3.5% with sustained growth projected at 44.5% for 19982000. Such hopes failed to materialize, as the real growth rate for 1998 was 2.7%. The costs of reunification saddled the country with $300 billion in debt, forcing western Germans to pay a 7.5% "solidarity" surtax for reconstructing the eastern section. Even with the infusion of cash, the eastern sector was essentially bankrupt in the late 1990s with 25% unemployment and worker output at 50% of its western counterpart. However, high unemployment did not result in a drop in the hourly wage rate. High labor costs also plague the west where workers average a 38-hour work week and enjoy six weeks of vacation per year. To remain competitive, German companies cut staff and relocated manufacturing jobs to lower-wage countries.

The coalition government of Social Democrats and Greens elected in 1998 pledged to combat Germany's economic sluggishness through a reform program dubbed "Future Program 2000." This program included budget cuts, tax reforms, and a major reform of the pension system. The government also tried to coordinate better labor-management cooperation in its effort to implement its reforms. This coalition government was returned to power in 2002, and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder called on citizens to "renew Germany" by pulling together during difficult economic times. Germany, on the brink of recession, saw a drop in the government's popularity. Schröder threatened to resign in 2003 if his reform package, called "Agenda 2010," was not passed by 2004. This program included a relaxation of job protections, reductions in unemployment and health care benefits, and an easing of the rules on collective bargaining. Indeed, the Social Democrats' traditional support from unions was compromised by the proposed reforms, including, as in France, pension reform: strikes broke out in Germany, France, Austria, and Italy in 2003 due to opposition to cuts in old-age benefits. Neither the reforms of "Agenda 2010" nor reduced taxation did much to improve consumer confidence for Germany's industrial workers, who were unemployed in large numbers. The unemployment rate in Germany stood at 10.6% in 2004, and at 12.4% for the first quarter of 2005.

As a result of elections held in September 2005, a "grand coalition" of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, was faced with the task of implementing further economic reforms. Reforming business taxes was one item on the policy agenda. The federal corporation tax rate is 25%, with local taxes pushing the total tax burden on companies up to 38%.

GDP growth was predicted to be a weak 0.9% in 2005, and 1.1% in 2006, with consumer prices rising by 1.9% in 2005 and 1.8% in 2006. Germany was expected to be forced to meet the EU's 3% budget-deficit ceiling by 2007. In 2005, a deficit of 3.7% of GDP was forecast, 3.4% in 2006, and 3.1% in 2007.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Germany's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $2.4 trillion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $29,700. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 0.8%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 2%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 1.1% of GDP, industry 28.6%, and services 70.3%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $5.693 billion or about $69 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.2% of GDP.

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Germany totaled $1.408 trillion or about $17,069 per capita based on a GDP of $2.4 trillion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 1.5%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 14% of household consumption was spent on food, 7% on fuel, 2% on health care, and 10% on education.


Germany's labor force in 2005 was estimated at 43.32 million workers. Employment by sector in 2003 was as follows: industry 31.9%; agriculture 2.5%; services 65.5%; other occupations 0.1%. Unemployment was estimated at 11.6% in 2005.

The right to organize and to join trade unions is guaranteed by law. As of 2005, about 28% of the eligible labor force was unionized. In 1991, the western trade unions successfully expanded eastward, where they created western structures in the new states, totally dominating overall development so that no GDR trade union survived reunification. Disputes concerning the interpretation of labor agreements are settled before special labor courts. Wages and working conditions in virtually all commercial and industrial establishments are governed by collective bargaining agreements between employers' associations and trade unions. Germany in 2005 did not have an administratively or legislated minimum wage rate.

As of 2005, children under the age of 15 were generally prohibited from employment, and these child labor laws were strictly enforced. Minors 13 and 14 years of age were permitted to work on a farm up to three per day, or deliver newspapers up to two hours per day. Although the average workweek ranges from 36 to 39 hours, the law allows a maximum workweek of 48 hours. Also mandated are a 25% premium for overtime; paid holidays and vacations (15 workdays annually, minimum, and 18 days for employees over 35 years of age); and a 10% premium for night work. However, under various collective bargaining agreements, most workers are entitled to an even greater wage premium for overtime work and even more vacation time than legally required (six weeks per year is typical). About 74% of Germany's labor force in 2005 was covered by a collective bargaining agreement, which partly explains the relatively high wages in the absence of a minimum wage law, and why working time and vacation provisions exceed legal requirements. Health and safety standards are stringently regulated.


Although 34% of the total area of Germany is devoted to crop production, production falls far short of satisfying industrial and consumer demand. Agriculture accounted for only 1% of GDP in 2003. The total amount of arable land in 2003 came to 12,040,000 hectares (29,750,000 acres). In 2003, the average size of Germany's 420,697 farms was about 40 hectares (100 acres).

Article 15 of the 1990 Treaty (for monetary, economic and social union) arranged for transitional price supports for GDR farmers until an integration within the EU agricultural market could occur. Before reunification, agriculture had engaged about 6.1% and 3% of the economically active populations of the former GDR and old FRG, respectively. Agriculture engaged 2.5% of Germany's population in 2002. The former GDR Länder contribute significantly to German agricultural production. The chief crops in order of yield in 2004 were sugar beets, 27,159,000 tons; wheat, 25,427,000 tons; barley, 12,933,000 tons; and potatoes, 13,044,000 tons. Apples and pears as well as cherries and peaches are significant fruit crops. In 2003, apple production was the smallest since 1995 from bad pollination and forest damage. Viticulture is important in the southwest, and Germany is a renowned producer of wines for world consumption; 105 million liters of wine were produced in 2004. Germany is the world's second-largest importer of agricultural products (after the United States), with nearly $50.8 billion in 2004.


The government regulates the marketing of livestock, meat, and some dairy products; it also controls the distribution of livestock for slaughter and meat. Livestock in 2005 included 13,257,000 head of cattle (including five million milk cows), and 26,235,000 hogs, 2,138,000 sheep, 520,000 horses, 112,000,000 chickens, and 8,000,000 turkeys. Milk production amounted to 27.6 million tons in 2005; cheese, 2,074,000 tons; and butter, 444,000 tons. Meat production in 2005 included 4.5 million tons of pork, 1.1 million tons of beef, 1 million tons of poultry, and 54,000 tons of lamb, mutton, and goat. In 2002, of the 2.8 million cattle tested for BSE ("mad cow" disease), 0.003% were confirmed positive. Some 798,000 tons of eggs were produced in 2005. Germany is the leading meat, milk, and honey producer of Europe.


The importance of the fishing industry has declined in recent years. At the beginning of 2004, the German fishing fleet consisted of 2,281 vessels with 66,008 GRT. In 2004, there were 88 fishery companies employing 9,004 people. The total catch in 2004 amounted to 288,000 tons, of which 125,000 tons came from domestic ports. The main fishing areas are the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the waters off Greenland. Overfishing is a serious environmental problem. The government subsidizes capacity reduction and modernization measures. The fish varieties accounting for the greatest volume are herring, mackerel, cod, and sardines. Aquaculture consists mostly of pond-raised trout and carp. Imports of fish products totaled 774,095 tons in 2004 (valued at $2.63 billion), while exports amounted to 370,508 tons (valued at $1.14 billion). Norway and Denmark together supply 40% of Germany's fish and seafood imports. Germany is the fourth-largest fish processing country in the EU (after the United Kingdom, France, and Spain). Processed fish production amounted to 474,428 tons in 2004, valued at $1.91 billion.


Total forest area amounted in 2000 to over 10.7 million hectares (26.5 million acres), about 31% of the total land area. Reforestation has resulted in a 6% increase in the forest area since the end of World War II (193945). Deciduous species (such as beech, oak, ash, maple, and alder) originally covered about two-thirds of the area, and conifers were only predominant in higher elevations. Today, hardwood trees comprise only one-third of the forests. Principal softwood species include silver fir, pine, spruce, and Douglas fir, which was introduced from the northwest United States late in the 19th century. The most thickly wooded of the federal Länder are Hessen and Rhineland-Pfalz. A total of 54 million cu m (1.9 billion cu ft) of timber was cut in 2005. The wood products industry consists of about 185,000 companies employing more than 1.3 million people, larger than the German automotive industry. Almost half of the raw timber is used by sawmills for lumber production. The German sawmilling industry consists of about 2,500 sawmills producing around 17 million cu m (600 million cu ft) of softwood lumber and 1.2 million cu m (42.4 million cu ft) of hardwood lumber. Total trade in forest products during 2004 included $14.8 billion in imports and $6.3 billion in exports. Output of paper and paperboard totaled 20.4 million tons in 2004, highest in Europe. High domestic labor costs compel Germany to import substantial quantities of value-added products such as veneers and panels.


Germany's export-oriented economy was the largest in Europe. Approximately one-third of Germany's gross domestic product (GDP) depended upon exports. Germany was also a major processing nation, relying on imports of raw materials for the metals processing industry and the manufacture of industrial mineral products. The country was a leader in the mining equipment manufacturing sector, and was among the largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, coal, and cement. Although the underground mining sector has steadily declined, certain minerals remained important domestically and worldwide. In 2003, Germany was the world's largest lignite producer, the world's third-largest producer of potash, a leading producer of kaolin in Western Europe, a major European producer of crude gypsum, and self-sufficient in feldspar and salt. The only metal mineral still mined in Germany was uranium.

Except for the very large lignite and potash operations, most of the producing and processing facilities in operation were small. The restructuring and privatization of facilities in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) continued in 2003, including of the mineral-resource industries. Production figures for 2003 were, in million tons: potash, 3.563; kaolin, 3.5; marketable gypsum and anhydrite, 1.748, down from 1.761 in 2001; feldspar, 0.5; industrial dolomite and limestone, 106, up from 76 in 2001; and marketable salt (evaporated, rock, and other), 16.3, up from 15.6 in 2001. In 2003, Germany also produced barite; bromine; chalk; clays (bentonite, ceramic, fire, fuller's earth, brick); diatomite; fluorspar; graphite; lime; quicklime; dead-burned dolomite; nitrogen; phosphate materials, including Thomas slag; mineral and natural pigments; pumice; dimension stone; quartz; quartzite; slate; building sand; gravel; terrazzo splits; foundry sand; industrial glass sand; talc; and steatite. In terms of overseas developments, Süd-Chemie AG was the largest bentonite producer in Europe. Between 140 and 160 small- to medium-sized clay mines were in operation; about one-half of the high-quality refractory and ceramic clays produced were from the Rhineland-Palatinate area. No iron ore was mined in 1999 and 2000; demand was met by imports of 47 million tons.


Germany is the greatest consumer of electric power in Europe. In 2003, total installed capacity was estimated at 119.8 GW. Total production of electric power in that year amounted to an estimated 558.1 billion kWh, of which 63% was produced in conventional thermal plants (mainly fueled by hard coal), 28% in nuclear installations, and 6% from other renewable sources. As of November 2005, there were 17 nuclear plants, and as of 2003, Germany ranked fourth internationally in nuclear power generation. In 2001, the German government and its utility companies signed an agreement to gradually phase out nuclear power over the coming decades due to environmental concerns.

Proven natural gas reserves were estimated at 9.9 trillion cu ft, as of 1 January 2005. Domestic production in 2003 accounted for slightly more than 24% of the natural gas consumed in 2003. In that year, domestic demand for natural gas was put at an estimated 3.3 trillion cu ft, while domestic production that year was estimated at 0.8 trillion cu ft. Major natural gas suppliers to Germany are Russia, the Netherlands, and Norway. In 2000 production began at Germany's first offshore gas field in the North Sea. It is expected to produce 3.3 billion cu m (116 billion cu ft) of gas per day for 16 years. Production of oil was estimated at 169,300 barrels per day in 2005, of which 38% was crude oil. Local production is not sufficient to cover consumption, which totaled an estimated 2.6 million barrels per day in 2005.

Germany has extensive coal reserves. In 2003, recoverable reserves of coal totaled an estimated 7,428.5 million short tons, with consumption and production estimated at 273 million short tons and 229.1 million short tons, respectively, for that same year. Germany's hard coal (anthracite and bituminous) deposits lie deep underground and are difficult to mine economically. As a result, hard coal extraction is subsidized by the government, which for 2005, plans to spend $3.5 billion for subsidies. However, by 2012, coal subsidies are slated to fall to $2.3 billion, the result of a pact with the coal industry reached in 1997. Brown coal, or lignite, however, is easier to obtain and does not require subsidies from the government. It also accounts for the vast bulk of German coal output. In 2003, of the 273.0 million short tons of coal produced, brown coal accounted for 86% of production, with 13% for bituminous and 1% for anthracite. The lignite industry, which is centered in the eastern part of the country, was drastically changed as a result of unification and the introduction of the strict environmental and safety laws of the pre-1991 FRG.

Germany is also looking at renewable energy sources. Under the Renewable Energy Sources Act, Germany is looking to have 12.5% of its energy supplied by renewable sources by 2010, and 20% by 2020. During the 1990s, more than 5,000 electricity-generating windmills were installed in Germany, mostly along the North Sea coast, and wind power is expected to supply 3.5% of electricity by 2010. As of November 2005, Germany had 14,600 MW of installed wind power capacity and 390 MW of installed solar voltaic capacity.


Germany is the world's third-largest industrial power, behind the United States and Japan. The major industrial concentrations of western Germany are the Ruhr-Westphalia complex; the Upper Rhine Valley, Bremen and Hamburg, notable for shipbuilding; the southern region, with such cities as Munich and Augsburg; and the central region, with such industrial cities as Salzgitter, Kassel, Hanover, and Braunschweig. In the east, most of the leading industries are located in the Berlin region or in such cities as Dresden, Leipzig, Dessau, Halle, Cottbus, and Chemnitz.

The main industrial sectors in the former GDR were electrical engineering and electronics, chemicals, glass, and ceramics. The optical and precision industries were important producers of export items. Following unification, wages in the east were allowed to reach levels far exceeding productivity. As a result, many factories closed and industrial production plunged by two-thirds before stabilizing.

German industry has been struggling with high labor costs, stiff international competition, and high business taxes. Large industrial concerns like Daimler-Benz have spun off unprofitable companies, cut staff, and are looking for ways to boost productivity. Policies such as these have led to a loss of some two million industrial jobs since 1991. Other companies, like the electronics giant Siemens, have moved plants abroad in search for lower labor costs and to secure positions in developing economies like China and Thailand.

Despite the costs of restructuring the former GDR, Germany had some of the largest and most successful companies in the world as of late 2005, from automobiles to advanced electronics, steel, chemicals, machinery, shipbuilding, and textiles. German industrial products are known for their high quality and reliability. Nevertheless, the global recession that began in 2001 negatively affected German industry, with 45,000 insolvencies in 2002, including Holzmann, the large construction company. The construction industry, which experienced a post-reunification boom in the early 1990s, experienced an 8% drop in orders at the beginning of 2002. Although German industry (excluding construction) as a percentage of GDP declined from 26.9% in 1992 to 22.6% in 2002, manufacturing in 2005 remained at the heart of the German economy.


The reunification of East and West Germany has created great opportunities for the entire population but has also placed great strains on the nation. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in science, engineering and technical education, and vocational training. Germany maintains an excellent science and technology educational system and vocational training in many fields. About 140,000 science and engineering students graduated per year in the last years of the 20th century. Still, the challenge of incorporating the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) into a complete and modern German nation is daunting. Public and university research facilities in the former East Germany are old and poorly maintained, and science and engineering students have been found to be poorly trained and equipped to work in more modern West German institutions and companies. It is believed that the German government will need to completely rebuild the science and technology infrastructure in the former GDR before it can compare with more modern German facilities.

The German national science and technology budget is applied to many areas of science and technology, and leading fields include traditional areas of German strength, like chemical, automotive and telecommunications research and development. Current policy emphasizes the application of science and technology to enhance Germany's economic and competitive standing, while protecting the nation's health and the environment. Support for science and technology also occurs at other levels. There are independent laboratories, comprised of both the national laboratories and private research institutes like the Max Planck and Fraunhofer Societies. In addition, German industry supports many important types of research and development, and the German states, or Länder, provide still more resources for scientific research. The Ministry for Science and Technology (BMFT), an organization without parallel in the United States, both coordinates and sets priorities for the entire national science and technology program. Finally, Germany's participation in the European Union also has a significant science and technology componentGermany provides funding, scientists, and laboratories for broad European research and development. In 2003 total research and development (R&D) expenditures in Germany amounted to $56,592.7 billion, or 2.64% of GDP. Of that total, 65.5% came from the business sector, followed by the government at 31.6%, the foreign sector at 2.3%, and by higher education at 0.4%.

In 2002, there were 3,222 scientists and engineers and 1,435 technicians per million people that were actively engaged in R&D. High-tech exports that same year were valued at $86.861 billion, accounting for 17% of manufactured exports.

Germany has numerous universities and colleges offering courses in basic and applied sciences. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 47% of university enrollment. In 2002, of all bachelor's degrees awarded, 30.2% were in the sciences (natural, mathematics and computers, and engineering).

The Natural History Museum in Berlin (founded in 1889) has geological, paleontological, mineralogical, zoological, and botanical components. The country has numerous specialized learned societies concerned with agriculture and veterinary science, medicine, the natural sciences, and technology.


Wholesalers, retailers, mail-order houses, door-to-door salespersons, department stores, consumer cooperatives, and factory stores all engage in distribution. There are about 630,000 commercial enterprises in Germany, with over than 760,000 local units. Nearly 5 million people are employed in domestic trade, which has a yearly turnover of over 1 trillion.

Chain stores are common, with the top 10 German retail organizations accounting for almost 80% of total German retail turnover. Convenience shops are a fast growing market outlet in Germany.

The economy is generally described as a "social market economy." The state continues to own some major sections of the economy and provides subsidies for the growth and development of some sectors. However, free enterprise and competition are encouraged. Privatization of public utilities has resulted in greater competition and lower prices. The economy as a whole is primarily export oriented, with nearly one-third of national product exported.

Usual business hours for retail stores are from 9 am to 6 or 6:30 pm on weekdays and from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday. Retail stores are not open on Sundays or holidays unless they have a special limited permit allowing them to be open. Twenty-four-hour shopping is available only at certain gas stations and at other sites related to travel. Wholesale houses and industrial plants usually have a half day (noon closing) on Saturday. Banks are open MondayFriday from 8:30 am to 1 pm and from 2:30 pm to 4 pm (5:30 pm on Thursday).


Germany is one of the world's great trading nations. In 2003 and 2004 it was the largest exporter in the world. In 2004, Germany's exports amounted to $909.7 billion, compared with the United

United States68,614.242,098.126,516.1
United Kingdom61,340.535,356.225,984.3
Italy-San Marino-Holy See53,914.037,926.515,987.5
() data not available or not significant.

States' $811.1 billion. German imports stood at $717.9 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $191.8 billion in 2004.

Manufactured products are the leading exports. Germany supplies a large portion of the world with automobiles and car parts. Germany's motor vehicle exports made up 18.4% of its total exports in 2004. Diverse machinery exports, including nonelectrical and electrical parts, also account for a large percentage of the world's exports in those commodities (and 14% of Germany's total exports in 2004). Chemical products, telecommunications technology, in addition to devices for electricity production and distribution, are the next leading exports. The leading markets for Germany's goods in 2004, in order of importance, were France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the Netherlands.

In 2004, Germany's major imports were chemical products (11% of total imports), motor vehicles (10.3%), petroleum and natural gas (6.8%), machinery (6.7%), and computers and related products (4.8%). Germany's leading suppliers in 2004, in order of importance, were France, the Netherlands, the United States, Italy, and the United Kingdom.


After experiencing deficits during 197981, Germany's current accounts balance rebounded to a surplus of about dm9.9 billion in 1982 and then kept rising to dm76.5 billion in 1986, primarily because of falling prices for crude oil and other imports, combined with appreciation of the deutsche mark relative to other European currencies. By 1989, Germany's current account surplus was nearly 5% of GNP. With reunification, however, this changed immediately. Imports rushed in as former-GDR residents sought newly available consumer goods, and exports fell as goods and services were diverted to the east. As a result, Germany recorded current account deficits since 1991, created in part because of the substantial foreign borrowing undertaken to finance the cost of unification. Even so, large current account surpluses from the 1970s and 1980s helped Germany to maintain its position as the world's second-largest creditor with net foreign assets estimated at $185 billion in 1995. From 1990 to 1996, however, Germany's share of world exports dropped from 12% to 9.8% due in large part to high

Revenue and Grants653.46100.0%
   Tax revenue245.8737.6%
   Social contributions378.3457.9%
   Other revenue18.712.9%
   General public services95.5513.7%
   Public order and safety3.00.4%
   Economic affairs46.596.7%
   Environmental protection0.370.1%
   Housing and community amenities6.190.9%
   Recreational, culture, and religion0.830.1%
   Social protection382.9754.8%
() data not available or not significant.

labor costs which were making it hard for Germany to compete in the global economy. Germany in 2001 ranked second behind the United States in numbers of both exports and imports, and ran a current account surplus. By 2004, it was the world's leading exporter, and had a current account surplus estimated at $73.59 billion.


The central banking system of Germany consists of the German Federal Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank), currently located in Frankfurt am Main (but which is expected to move to Berlin, the capital), one bank for each of the Länder (Landeszentralbanken), and one in Berlin, which are the main offices for the Federal Bank. Although the Federal Bank is an independent institution, the federal government holds the bank's capital and appoints the presidents as well as the board of directors; the Central Bank Council acts as overseer. All German banks are subject to supervision by the German Federal Banking Supervisory Authority (Bundesaufsichtsamt für das Kreditwesen) in Berlin.

The Federal Bank is the sole bank of issue. Until the advent of the euro in 1999 it set interest and discount rates. These functions are now the domain of the European Central Bank (ECB). However, the Federal Bank maintains a leading role in domestic banking. The largest commercial banks are the Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank, and Commerzbank. In 1997 Germany had 232 commercial banks, including the "big three," 56 subsidiaries or branches of foreign banks, and 80 private banks. There are also 13 central giro institutions. In addition, there are 657 savings banks and 18 credit institutions with special functions, including the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (Reconstruction Loan Corporation), which is the channel for official aid to developing countries. In all, there were over 45,000 bank offices in 2002. The German financial system includes just under 2,700 small industrial and agricultural credit cooperatives and allied institutions, in addition to four central institutions; 33 private and public mortgage banks that obtain funds from the sale of bonds; the postal check and postal savings system; and 34 building societies. In April 2000, a proposed merger between two of the "big three," Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank, collapsed. The deal would have reduced operating costs by relieving both banks of their branch networks.

After the Bundesbank just missed its target range for M3 growth for 1996 of 4% to 7%, it decided on a two-year target for monetary supply growth to cover the 1997-98 period leading up to the planned hand-over of responsibility to the ECB on 1 January 1999.

In 1996 Moody's Investments Service capped an extremely poor year for Deutsche Bank by reducing its triple A rating to Aa1. This reflects the fact that elite banks are finding it harder to retain the triple A rating as banking becomes internationally more competitive. Deutsche Bank announced that it hoped to shed 1,300 employees through attrition by 2000.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $544.8 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $1,849.3 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 4.37%.

Under the constitution, the governments of the Länder regulate the operations of stock exchanges and produce exchanges. Eight stock exchanges operate in Berlin, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Munich, and Stuttgart. Germany has several other independent exchanges for agricultural items. There are no restrictions on foreign investments in any securities quoted on the German stock exchanges. However, a foreign (or domestic) business investor that acquires more than 25% of the issued capital of a German quoted company must inform the company of this fact. The most notable recent banking legislation is the January 2002 elimination of the capital gains tax on holdings sold by one corporation to another. In 2004, a total of 660 companies were listed on the Deutsche Borse AG. Market capitalization in 2004 totaled 41,194.517 billion. The DAX in 2004 rose 7.3% from the previous year to 4,256.1.


In 2003, the value of direct premiums written totaled $170.811 billion, of which nonlife premiums accounted for $94.073 billion. Germany's top nonlife insurer in that same year was Allianz Versicherungswirtschafe with gross nonlife premiums written of $9,071.1 million. The country's leading life insurer that year was Allianz Leben, with $11,554.2 billion in life insurance premiums written. Worker's compensation, third party automobile liability, legal liability for drug companies, airlines, hunters, auditors, tax advisors, security firms, architects, lawyers, nuclear power station operators, and accident and health insurance are compulsory. The insurance sector is highly regulated and, despite the opening of the European Union (EU) market, it will be difficult for foreign companies to win the confidence of potential German customers.


The 1967 Law for the Promotion of Economic Stability and Growth requires the federal and state governments to orient their budgets to the main economic policy objectives of price stability, high employment, balanced foreign trade, and steady commensurate growth. The Financial Planning Council, formed in 1968, coordinates the federal government, states, municipalities, and the Bundesbank in setting public budgets. Income, corporate turnover, mineral oil, and trade taxes account for more than 80% of all tax revenue, with the federal government controlling just under half of it. Since the 1960s, social insurance provisions have accounted for the largest share of federal expenditures. Germany's reunification in 1990 raised special problems with regard to economic and financial assimilation. The Unification Treaty provided that the new states should be incorporated in the financial system established by the Basic Law as much as possible from the onset. Therefore, since 1991, the new states have basically been subject to the same regulations with regard to budgetary management and tax distribution as the western states. A "German Unity Fund" was initiated to provide financial support for the new states (and their municipalities); it is jointly financed by the western states, with most of the money being raised in the capital market.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Germany's central government took in revenues of approximately $1.2 trillion and had expenditures of $1.3 trillion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$113 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 68.1% of GDP. Total external debt was $3.626 trillion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2003, the most recent year for which it had data, central government revenues were 653.46 billion and expenditures were 698.61 billion. The value of revenues was us$738 million and expenditures us$788 million, based on a market exchange rate for 2003 of us$1 = .8860 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 13.7%; defense, 3.6%; public order and safety, 0.4%; economic affairs, 6.7%; environmental protection, 0.1%; housing and community amenities,

Current Account54.9
   Balance on goods151.7
   Balance on services-50.4
   Balance on income-13.9
   Current transfers-32.5
Capital Account0.4
Financial Account-79.7
   Direct investment abroad-1.5
   Direct investment in Germany11.3
   Portfolio investment assets-37.6
   Portfolio investment liabilities103.5
   Financial derivatives-0.7
   Other investment assets-170.3
   Other investment liabilities15.7
Net Errors and Omissions23.8
Reserves and Related Items0.7
() data not available or not significant.

0.9%; health, 19.3%; recreation, culture, and religion, 0.1%; education, 0.4%; and social protection, 54.8%.


In 2000, the German tax system underwent a major reform featuring a dramatic reduction in taxes on business (from a corporate income tax rate of 40% to 25%, and the elimination altogether of a 53% tax on investment profits), as well as a scheduled reduction in the top income tax rate to 42% by 2005 from 56% in the 1980s, and 53% in 2000. As of 2005, Germany's corporate income tax rate was 25%, plus a 5.5% surcharge. There is also a 5% basic trade tax, although rates in the main cities range from 2025%. A nonresident corporation, whose headquarters and management are outside of Germany, does not have to pay the surcharge. Business related capital gains are taxed as income, with a 95% exemption on gains from the sale of most shareholdings by companies for tax years ending after 31 December 2003. Business activities are also subject to municipal trade taxes of 1220.5%, depending upon the municipality.

As of 2005, Germany's progressive individual income tax had a top rate of 42%, plus a 5.5% surcharge. Although self-employed persons are subject to the country's trade tax, the tax can be credited against a person's individual income tax. In 2005 the progressive schedule of income tax rates saw an increase in the 0%, tax-free base to 7,665, with decreases in other brackets. However, the threshold for the highest tax rate decreased from 55,008 in 2002 to 52,293 in 2003 to 52,152 in 2005. Rates and exemptions depend on the number of children, age, and marital status of taxpayer. Individuals also pay an 89% church tax, although non-churchgoers, and members of the Orthodox or Anglican Churches are exempt from paying any church tax. Other direct taxes include an inheritance and gift tax, a net worth tax, and a 2% real estate transfer tax.

The main indirect tax in Germany is a value-added tax (VAT) introduced in 1968 with a standard rate of 10%. By 2003, the standard rate had risen to 16%. A reduced rate of 7% applies to some basic foodstuffs, water supplies, medical care and dentistry, medical equipment for disabled persons, books, newspapers and periodicals, some shows, social housing, agricultural inputs, social services, and public transportation. Items exempt from the VAT include admissions to cultural events, building land, supplies for new buildings, TV licenses, telephones and faxes, basic medical and dental care, the use of sports facilities, and some waste disposal services. Exports are also zero-rated.


Germany is a member of the European Union and thus has a common import customs tariff and complies with trade agreements put in place by the EU. Germany is also a contracting party to the Harmonized System Convention. In regard to trade with non-EU countries, most raw materials enter duty-free, while most manufactured goods are subject to varying rates between 5% and 8%. Germany levies a 15% value-added tax on industrial goods.


All foreign investment must be reported to the German Federal Bank (Bundesbank), but there are no restrictions on the repatriation of capital or profits. Until the 1998 deregulation of Deutsche Telekom, telecommunications remained closed to foreign investment. There is no special treatment for foreign investors. As of 2005, incentives for investment in the former GDR deemed to be desirable included accelerated depreciation, loans at below-market interest rates, and cash investment grants and subsidies. Still applicable in all of Germany as of 2005 were cash grants; tax incentives such as capital reserve allowances and special depreciation allowances; investment grants; and credit programs, including low-interest loans. Foreign firms may also participate in government and/or subsidized research and development programs.

Although few formal barriers exist, high labor costs have discouraged foreign companies from setting up manufacturing plants in Germany. Nevertheless, the German government and industry enthusiastically encourage foreign investment in Germany. German law provides foreign investors national treatment.

There are eight free ports in Germany operated under EU Community law. These duty-free zones within the ports are open to both domestic and foreign entities.

Across the 10-year period 1991 to 2001, total foreign direct investment (FDI) totaled $393 billion, the third highest total in the world. Half of this came in 2000, when FDI inflow reached over $195 billion. Annual FDI inflow had been $12 billion in 1997, rising to $24.5 billion in 1998, to $54.7 billion in 1999. With the bursting of the bubble in 2001, FDI inflow to Germany fell to about $21.1 billion in 2001 and was estimated at $36.2 billion in 2002.

According to the Bundesbank, FDI in Germany in 2003 (the latest figures available) had fallen to $12.9 billion, about two-thirds less than the 2002 high. In GDP terms, 2003 flows of FDI represented 0.6% of Germany's GDP, while the total stock of FDI in 2003 equaled 26.1% of GDP.

FDI outflows from Germany peaked at almost $106.5 billion in 1999. FDI outflows were about $36.9 billion in 2001 and $8.7 billion in 2002. German flows of direct investment abroad plunged to $2.6 billion in 2003.


Germany describes its economy as a "social market economy." Outside of transportation, communications, and certain utilities, the government has remained on the sidelines of entrepreneurship. Beginning in 1998, and in line with EU regulations, the German government began deregulating these fields as well. It has, nevertheless, upheld its role as social arbiter and economic adviser. Overall economic priorities are set by the federal and Land governments pursuant to the 1967 Stability and Growth Act, which demands stability of prices, a high level of employment, steady growth, and equilibrium in foreign trade. In addition to the state, the independent German Federal Bank (Bundesbank), trade unions, and employers' associations bear responsibility for the nation's economic health. With the advent of the euro in 1999, much of the Federal Bank's authority in monetary matters was transferred to the European Central Bank (ECB). In the international arena, Germany has acted as a leader of European economic integration.

Government price and currency policies have been stable and effective. Less successful have been wage-price policies, which have been unable to control a continued upward movement. Inflationary pressures have increased and combined with a general leveling off in productivity and growth. Attempts to neutralize competition by agreements between competitors and mergers are controlled by the Law Against Restraints of Competition (Cartel Act), passed in 1957 and strengthened since then. The law is administered by the Federal Cartel Office, located in Bonn.

Unemployment remained at an average 9% in the early 2000s; it was twice as high in eastern Germany as in western Germany. As of the first quarter of 2005, the unemployment rate stood at 12.4%. Although much effort has been expended to integrate the former East German economy with the West's (infrastructure has improved drastically and a market economy has been introduced), progress in causing the two economies to converge slowed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Annual transfers from West to East amounted to approximately $70 billion in 2005. Germany had the weakest GDP growth in the EU from 19942003, when Germany's economy was moribund.

The aging population, combined with high unemployment, has pushed social security outlays to a level exceeding contributions from workers. Corporate restructuring and growing capital markets are setting the foundations allowing Germany to thrive globally and to lead the process of European economic integration, particularly if labor-market rigidities are addressed. However, in the short run, rising expenditures and lowered revenues have raised the budget deficit above the EU's 3% debt limit.


The social security system of the FRG remained in place following unification with the German Democratic Republic. However, the GDR system continued to apply on an interim basis within the former GDR territory. The two systems were merged effective 2 January 1992. The social insurance system provides for sickness and maternity, workers' compensation, disability, unemployment, and old age; the program is financed by compulsory employee and employer contributions. Old age pensions begin at age 65 after five years of contribution. Worker's medical coverage is comprehensive, including dental care. Unemployment coverage includes all workers, trainees, apprentices, and at-home workers in varying degrees. The government funds a family allowance to parents with one or more children.

Equal pay for equal work is mandated by law, but women continue to earn less than men. Women continue to be underrepresented in managerial positions. Sexual harassment of women in the workplace is recognized and addressed. Although violence against women exists, the law and government provides protection. Victims of violence can receive police protection, legal help, shelter and counseling. Children's rights are strongly protected.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Basic Law in Germany, although there have been reports of some discrimination against minority religions. Extremist right-wing groups continue to commit violent acts against immigrants and Jews although the government is committed to preventing such acts. The Basic Law also provides for the freedom of association, assembly, and expression.


Health insurance in Germany is available to everyone. Benefits are broad and nationally uniform, with only minor variations among plans. They include free choice of doctors; unlimited physician visits; preventive checkups; total freedom from out-of-pocket payments for physician services; unlimited acute hospital care (with a nominal co-payment); prescription drug coverage (with a minimal co-payment); comprehensive dental benefits (with a 2530% co-payment); vision and hearing exams, glasses, aids, prostheses, etc.; inpatient and psychiatric care (and outpatient psychiatric visits); monthly home care allowances; maternity benefits; disability payments; and rehabilitation and/or occupational therapy. Health care expenditure was estimated at 10.5% of GDP. Expenditures on health are among the highest in the world.

In 2004, there were approximately 362 physicians, 951 nurses, 78 dentists, and 58 pharmacists per 100,000 people. There were about 2,260 hospitals in Germany, with about 572,000 beds. A gradual deinstitutionalization of people with chronic mental illness has taken place, with the number of hospital beds declining from 150,000 in the former West Germany in 1976 to a total of 69,000 in Germany as a whole as of 1995. Germany immunized 85% of children up to one year old against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus.

Average life expectancy was 78.65 years in 2005. Infant mortality was 4.16 per 1,000 live births in the same year, one of the lowest in the world. As of 2002, the birth rate was estimated at 8.9 per 1,000 live births and the overall death rate at 10.4 per 1,000 people. Contraceptive use is high. Nearly 75% of married women 1549 used some form of birth control. The total fertility rate in 2000 was 1.4 children per woman throughout her childbearing years. The maternal mortality rate was low at 8 deaths per 100,000 live births.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 43,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 1,000 deaths from AIDS in 2003.

Tobacco consumption has decreased significantly from 2.4 kg (5.3 lbs) in 1984 to 2.1 kg (4.6 lbs) a year per adult in 1995. The heart disease average in Germany was higher than the European average.


Nearly 2.8 million of the country's 12 million dwellings were destroyed or made uninhabitable as a result of World War II. In the early 1950s, there were 10 million dwellings available for 17 million households. From 1949 to 1978, over 18 million housing units were built, a construction rate of over 500,000 a year; since then, new construction has slowed, averaging 357,000 new units annually during the period 198085. Over 4.2 million housing units were built in 1991 or later (excluding residential homes).

Over half of the population live in residential buildings of three or more dwelling units. Nearly 98% of all dwelling units are in such multiunit residential buildings; of these, about 42.6% are owner occupied. About 69% of the dwelling units in residential buildings have central heating systems. Gas and oil are the most common energy sources. In 2002, there was a total of about 38,957,100 dwelling units nationwide; only 254,900 were residential homes. The average number of persons per household is 2.2.


Most schools and kindergartens are the responsibility of the states, not of the federal government. Therefore, though the overall structure is basically the same, it is difficult for a pupil to transfer from one school to another. German teachers are civil servants. They are required to have a teaching degree and are paid according to a uniform salary scale. Attendance at all public schools and universities is free.

Children start school after their sixth birthday and are required to attend on a full-time basis for nine or ten years, depending on the state of residence. After four years of primary or elementary school (Grundschule ), students choose from three types of secondary school. The best pupils go to a gymnasium, which prepares them for the university matriculation examination, or abitur. A second option is the realschule, leading to technical job training and middle-management employment. The third type is the hauptschule, or general school.

However, a network of correspondence courses has developed, geared for those who wish to continue their studies while working. In Germany, vocational training is the rule. On-the-job training in an authorized company is combined with instruction in a vocational school. Vocational training is concluded by taking a theoretical and practical examination before a Board of the Chamber, and those who pass are given a certificate. This system of vocational training has clearly reduced youth unemployment.

In 2001, nearly all children between the ages of three and five were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment has been estimated at about 84% of age-eligible students. In 2003, secondary school enrollment was about 88% of age-eligible students. Nearly all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 14:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was also about 14:1.

Higher education is represented by three types of institutions: universities (technische universitäten ), colleges of art and music, and universities of applied sciences (fachhochscchulen ). There are also several fachschulen, which offer continuing vocational training for adults. In 2003, about 51% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate has been estimated at about 99%.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 4.8% of GDP, or 9.5% of total government expenditures.


Germany had no national library until 1913, when the German Library (7.2 million volumes in 2002) in Leipzig brought together an extensive collection literature of the German language under one roof. The library also contains 3.9 million volumes of works written in exile by German authors during the Nazi era. In 1990 a further consolidation of German libraries was completed with the establishment of the German Library in Frankfurt, which had 18 million volumes in 2002. Other prominent libraries are the Bavarian State Library in Munich (7.6 million books) and the Prussian Cultural Property State Library (10 million books) in Berlin. The Herzog-August Library in Wolfenbüttel (848,000 volumes) has archives of 12,000 handwritten medieval books. One of the most important collections of German literature is at the Central Library of German Classics in Weimar. The Berlin Central and Regional Library, the public library network for the area, contains over 3.1 million print and electronic sources. The German Library for the Blind in Leipzig was founded in 1894. It serves as a publishing house and production center for Braille texts and audio books, as well as a public lending library containing 40,000 book titles and 5,000 titles of sheet music in Braille.

Germany has more than 4,500 state, municipal, association, private, residential, castle, palace, and church and cathedral treasures museums, which annually attract over 100 million visitors. Berlin has the Egyptian and Pergaman Museums, the Painting Gallery of Old Masters, and the National Gallery of Modern Art. The Jewish Museum opened in Berlin in 2001 offering exhibits on the history and culture of the Jewish people in the region. The Germanic National Museum in Nüremberg has the largest collection on the history of German art and culture from antiquity to the 20th century. The German Museum in Munich is one of the most well known natural sciences and technology museums in Europe. The Pinakothek Moderne, opened in 2003, houses a huge modern art collection in Munich. In addition, there are hundreds of smaller museums, ethnological and archaeological institutions, scientific collections, and art galleries.

The Bach Archive in Leipzig contains a museum, research institute, and library dedicated to the life and work of the composer J.S. Bach, who once served as the city's music director. Beethoven Haus in Bonn and the Richard Wagner Museum Haus in Bayreuth honor two more famous German composers. Museums on the life and work of Goethe are located in Frankfurt (birthplace) and Weimer. Lutherhaus in Wittenberg serves as a historical museum for both the life and work of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation that he ignited.


Since reunification, postal services have been under the jurisdiction of the Deutsche Bundespost Postdienst and telecommunications under Deutsche Bundespost Telekom. Intensive capital investments since reunification have rapidly modernized and integrated most of the obsolete telephone network of the former GDR. In 2003, there were an estimated 657 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 785 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

There are 11 regional broadcasting corporations, including Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, which operates Channel Two nationally. In 1999 there were 77 AM, 1,621 FM, and 373 television stations. In 2003, there were an estimated 570 radios and 675 television sets for every 1,000 people. About 250.8 of every 1,000 people were cable subscribers. Also in 2003, there were 484.7 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 473 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 13,847 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

There are about 305 national, regional, and local newspapers in Germany, as well as a large number of other periodicals. Of the newspapers sold on the street, the Bild has the largest circulation at about 3.8 million in 2005. The Berliner Zeitung, founded in 1945 but completely redesigned in 1997, is a nationally prominent daily with a circulation on 2005 of about 180,000. Other influential daily national newspapers (with 2005 circulation rates unless noted) are: the Express (Cologne, 468,800 in 2004), Rheinische Post (Duesseldorf, 443,100 in 2004), the Sachsische Zeitung (Dresden, 416,800 in 2004), the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt, 377,000), Die Welt (244,000 in 2004), Frankfurter Rundschau (167,000), Suddeutsche Zeitung (Munich, 437,000), Der Tagesspiegel (135,000), and Die Tageszeitung (59,000).

Over 20,000 periodicals are published in Germany. The best-known internationally is the news magazine Der Spiegel which is modeled after the American Time magazine. The German Press Agency, owned by German newspaper publishers and publishers' organizations, furnishes domestic and international news. There are hundreds of small press agencies and services.

The Basic Law provides for free press rights, and the government mostly supports these rights in practice, though propaganda of Nazi and certain other proscribed groups is illegal, as are statements endorsing Nazism.


The Federation of German Industries, the Confederation of German Employers' Associations, the Federation of German Wholesale and Foreign Traders, and the Association of German Chambers of Commerce represent business in the FRG. There are about 14 regional associations of chambers of business and industry located in the largest cities; many maintain branch offices in smaller cities. The chambers are organized into provincial associations and are headed by the Permanent Conference of German Industry and Trade. The cooperative movement is well developed. Consumer cooperatives are represented in the International Cooperative Alliance by the Central Association of German Cooperatives, founded in 1949; it also represents credit cooperatives. The central association of agricultural cooperatives, the German Raiffeisen Society, is located in Wiesbaden. The Association of German Peasants is the largest society of farmers. There is also a Central Association of German Artisan Industries. The private Association of Consumers operates more than 150 local advisory centers. Professional societies and associations are numerous and represent a wide variety of occupations and fields of study.

Civil action groups (Bürgerinitiativen) have proliferated in recent years. August 13 Working Committee serves in part as a human rights awareness organization. Deutscher Frauenring serves as an umbrella organization for national women's groups. The Red Cross is active. There are national chapters of Habitat for Humanity, CARE and Caritas.

The German Academy of Arts in Berlin and the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden are well-known arts organizations. There is a network of seven academies of science in Germany. The UNESCO Institute for Education has an office in Hamburg. A few cultural and learned associations particular to Germany include the International Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Society, the International Heinrich Schutz Society, and the International Hegel Gesellschaft Society. There are numerous organizations dedicated to research and education in scientific fields, particularly those relating to medicine.

There are about 80 youth associations, most of which belong to the Federal Youth Ring. The scouting movement is highly active and political parties sponsor groups associated in the Ring of Political Youth. In total there are about 90 national youth organizations and youth associations. Many of them are part of the umbrella organization known as the German Federal Youth Association.

There are thousands of groups and associations sponsoring various arts and cultural activities and special organizations for various hobbies and sports. The German Sports Confederation serves as an umbrella organization for over 88,000 sports clubs nationwide. There are also many patriotic and religious organizations in the country.


Germany is famous for its beautiful scenery, particularly the Alps in the south and the river valleys of the Rhine, Main, and Danube; the landscape is dotted with castles and medieval villages. Theater, opera, and orchestral music abound in the major cities. The area that was formerly the German Democratic Republic offers a number of Baltic beach resorts and scenic Rügen Island. Residents of the United States and Canada need only a valid passport to enter Germany for a period of no more than three months; citizens of other countries need a visa. All border formalities for residents of other European Community countries were abandoned with the lifting of trade barriers in 1993.

Facilities for camping, cycling, skiing, and mountaineering are abundant. Football (soccer) is the favorite sport; Germany hosted and won the World Cup competition in 1974, and was scheduled to host in 2006. Tennis has become more popular since Boris Becker won the Wimbledon Championship in 1985; German Steffi Graf was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004. The Olympic Games were held in Berlin in 1936, during the Hitler years, and in Munich in 1972.

Approximately 16,357,037 tourists visited Germany in 2003, almost 34% of whom came from Western Europe. There were 892,302 hotel rooms with about 1.6 million beds and an occupancy rate of 33%. The average length of stay was two nights. Tourism receipts totaled $31.6 billion that year.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily expenses in Munich at $350; in Cologne, $323; and in Berlin, $353.


The roster of famous Germans is long in most fields of endeavor. The name of Johann Gutenberg (1400?1468?), who is generally regarded in the Western world as the inventor of movable precision-cast metal type, and therefore as the father of modern book printing, might well head the list of notable Germans. Martin Luther (14831546), founder of the Reformation, still exerts profound influence on German religion, society, music, and language.

The earliest major names in German literature were the poets Wolfram von Eschenbach (1170?1220?), Gottfried von Strassburg (d.1210?), and Sebastian Brant (1457?1521). Hans Sachs (14941576) wrote thousands of plays, poems, stories, and songs. Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen (1620?76) created a famous picaresque novel, Simplicissimus. The flowering of German literature began with such renowned 18th-century poets and dramatists as Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (17241803), Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (172981), Christoph Martin Wieland (17331813), and Johann Gottfried von Herder (17441803), and culminated with the greatest German poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (17491832), and the greatest German dramatist, Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (17591805). Leaders of the Romantic movement included Jean Paul (Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, 17631825), August Wilhelm von Schlegel (17671845), Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg, 17721801), Ludwig Tieck (17731853), E. T. A. (Ernst Theodor Wilhelmthe A stood for Amadeus, the middle name of Mozart) Hoffmann (17761822), and Heinrich Wilhelm von Kleist (17771811). The brothers Jakob Grimm (17851863) and Wilhelm Grimm (17861859) are world-famous for their collections of folk tales and myths. Heinrich Heine (17971856), many of whose poems have become folksongs, is generally regarded as the greatest German poet after Goethe. Other significant poets are Friedrich Hölderlin (17701843), Friedrich Rückert (17881866), Eduard Mörike (180475), Stefan Georg (18681933), and Rainer Maria Rilke (18751926). Playwrights of distinction include Friedrich Hebbel (181363), Georg Büchner (181337), Georg Kaiser (18781945), Ernst Toller (18931939), and Bertolt Brecht (18981957). Two leading novelists of the 19th century were Gustav Freytag (181695) and Theodor Storm (181788). Germany's 20th-century novelists include Ernst Wiechert (18871950), Anna Seghers (Netty Reiling, 19001983), and Nobel Prize winners Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann (18621946), Thomas Mann (18751955), Nelly Sachs (18911970), and Heinrich Böll (191786). Other major writers of the 20th and 21st centuries include German-born Erich Maria Remarque (18981970), Günter Grass (b.1927), Christa Wolf (b.1929), and Peter Handke (b.1942).

Leading filmmakers include G. W. (Georg Wilhelm) Pabst (b.Czechoslovakia, 18851967), F. W. (Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe) Murnau (18881931), Fritz Lang (b.Austria, 18901976), German-born Ernst Lubitsch (18921947), Max Ophüls (Oppenheimer, 190257), Leni (Helene Bertha Amalie) Riefenstahl (19022003), Volker Schlöndorff (b.1939), Werner Herzog (b.1942), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (194682), Wim Wenders (b.1945), and Doris Dörrie (b.1955). Outstanding performers include Emil Jannings (Theodor Friedrich Emil Janenz, b.Switzerland, 18861950), Marlene Dietrich (19011992), and Klaus Kinski (Claus Günther Nakszynski, 192691).

The two giants of German church music were Heinrich Schütz (15851672) and, preeminently, Johann Sebastian Bach (16851750). Significant composers of the 18th century were German-born Georg Friedrich Handel (16851759), Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (171488), and Christoph Willibald von Gluck (171487). The classical period and music in general were dominated by the titanic figure of Ludwig von Beethoven (17701827). Romanticism in music was ushered in by Carl Maria von Weber (17861826), among others. Outstanding composers of the 19th century were Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (180947), Robert Schumann (181056), Richard Wagner (181383), and Johannes Brahms (183397). Major figures of the 20th and 21st centuries are Richard Strauss (18641949), Paul Hindemith (18951963), Carl Orff (18951982), German-born Kurt Weill (190050), Hans Werner Henze (b.1926), and Karlheinz Stockhausen (b.1928). Important symphonic conductors included Otto Klemperer (18851973), Wilhelm Furtwängler (18861954), Karl Böhm (18941981), and Eugen Jochum (190287). Among Germany's outstanding musical performers are singers Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (b.1915) and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (b.1925), and pianists Walter Gieseking (18951956) and Wilhelm Kempff (189591).

Veit Stoss (1440?1533) was one of the greatest German sculptors and woodcarvers of the 15th century; another was Tilman Riemenschneider (1460?1531). Outstanding painters, engravers, and makers of woodcuts were Martin Schongauer (1445?91), Matthias Grünewald (1460?1528?), Hans Holbein the Elder (1465?1524),Lucas Cranach (14721553), Hans Holbein the Younger (1497?1543), and above all, Albrecht Dürer (14711528). More recent artists of renown are the painters Emil Nolde (18671956), Franz Marc (18801916), Max Beckmann (18841950), the US-born Lyonel Feininger (18711956), Otto Dix (18911969), Max Ernst (18911976), and Horst Antes (b.1936); the painter and cartoonist George Grosz (18931959); the sculptors Ernst Barlach (18701938) and Wilhelm Lehmbruck (18811919); the painter-etcher-sculptor Käthe Kollwitz (18671945); the Dadaist Hannah Höch (18891978); the painter-sculptor-installation artist Joseph Beuys (19211986); the painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer (b.1945); and the architects Walter Gropius (18831969), leader of the Bauhaus School of Design, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (18861969), Erich Mendelsohn (18871953), Gottfried Böhm (b.1920), and Helmut Jahn (b.1940).

Scholars and Leaders

German influence on Western thought can be traced back at least as far as the 13th century, to the great scholastic philosopher, naturalist, and theologian Albertus Magnus (Albert von Bollstädt, d.1280) and the mystic philosopher Meister Eckhart (1260?1327?). Philipp Melanchthon (Schwartzerd, 14971560) was a scholar and religious reformer. Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (16461716) was an outstanding philosopher, theologian, mathematician, and natural scientist. The next two centuries were dominated by the ideas of Immanuel Kant (17241804), Moses Mendelssohn (172986), Johann Gottlieb Fichte (17621814), Friedrich Ernst Daniel Schleiermacher (17681834), Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (17701831), Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (17751854), Arthur Schopenhauer (17881860), Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach (180472), Karl Marx (181883), Friedrich Engels (182095), and Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (18441900). In the 20th century, Edmund Husserl (18591938), Oswald Spengler (18801936), Karl Jaspers (18831969), Martin Heidegger (18891976), and Hans-Georg Gadamer (19002002) are highly regarded. Figures of the Frankfurt School of social and political philosophy include Theodor Adorno (19031969), Max Horkheimer (18951973), Walter Benjamin (18921940), Herbert Marcuse (18981979), and Jürgen Habermas (b.1929). Political theorist Hannah Arendt (19061975) is also highly regarded, as is Carl Schmitt (18881985). One of the founders of modern Biblical scholarship was Julius Wellhausen (18441918). Franz Rosenzweig (18861929) was one of the most influential modern Jewish religious thinkers, as was Gershom Scholem (18971982).

Among the most famous German scientists are Johann Rudolf Glauber (16941768), Justus von Liebig (180373), Robert Wilhelm Bunsen (181199), and Nobel Prize winners Hermann Emil Fischer (18521919), Adolf von Baeyer (18351917), Eduard Buchner (18601917), Wilhelm Ostwald (18531932), Otto Wallach (18471931), Richard Martin Willstätter (18721942), Fritz Haber (18681934), Walther Nernst (b.Poland, 18641941), Heinrich Otto Wieland (18771957), Adolf Otto Reinhold Windaus (18761959), Carl Bosch (18741940), Friedrich Bergius (18841949), Otto Hahn (18791968), Hans Fischer (18811945), Friedrich Bergius (18841949), Georg Wittig (18971987), Adolf Butenandt (19031995), Otto Diels (18761954), Kurt Alder (190258), Hermann Staudinger (18811965), Karl Ziegler (18981973), Manfred Eigen (b.1927), Ernst Otto Fischer (b.1918), Johann Deisenhofer (b.1943), Robert Huber (b.1937), and Hartmut Michel (b.1948) in chemistry; Karl Friedrich Gauss (17771855), Georg Simon Ohm (17871854), Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (182194), Heinrich Rudolf Hertz (18571894), and Nobel Prize winners Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen (18451923), Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck (18581947), Albert Einstein (18791955), Gustav Ludwig Hertz (18871975), Werner Heisenberg (190176), Walter Bothe (18911957), Carl-Friedrich von Weizsäcker (b.1912), Rudolf Mössbauer (b.1929), Hans Bethe (19062005), Klaus von Klitzing (b.1943), Ernst Ruska (19061988), Gerd Binnig (b.1947), Johannes Georg Bednorz (b.1950), Hans Georg Dehmelt (b.Germany, 1922), Wolfgang Paul (19131993), Wolfgang Ketterle (b.1957), and Theodor Wolfgang Hänsch (b.1941) in physics; Rudolf Virchow (18211902), August von Wassermann (18661925), and Nobel Prize winners Robert Koch (18431910), Paul Ehrlich (18541915), Emil von Behring (18541917), Otto H. Warburg (18831970), Konrad Lorenz (Austria, 190389), Konrad Emil Bloch (19122000), Feodor Felix Konrad Lynen (19111979), Max Delbrück (b.Germany 19061981), Sir Bernard Katz (b.Germany 19112003), Georges Jean Franz Köhler (19461995), Erwin Neher (b.1944), Bert Sakmann (b.1942), Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard (b.1942), and Günter Blobel (b.1936), in physiology or medicine; earth scientists Alexander von Humboldt (17691859) and Karl Ernst Richter (17951863); and mathematician Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann (182666). Notable among German inventors and engineers are Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit (16861736), developer of the thermometer; Gottlieb Daimler (18341900), Rudolf Diesel (b.Paris, 18581913), and Felix Wankel (190288), developers of the internal combustion engine; airship builder Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (18381917); and rocketry pioneer Wernher von Braun (191277). Leading social scientists, in addition to Marx and Engels, were the historians Leopold von Ranke (17951886) and Theodor Mommsen (18171903), Nobel Prize winner in literature; the political economist Georg Friedrich List (17891846); the sociologists Georg Simmel (18581918) and Max Weber (18641920); and the German-born anthropologist Franz Boas (18581942). Johann Joachim Winckelmann (171768) founded the scientific study of classical art and archaeology. Heinrich Schliemann (182290) uncovered the remains of ancient Troy, Mycenae, and Tiryns; Wilhelm Dörpfeld (18531940) continued his work.

Outstanding figures in German political history are the Holy Roman emperors Otto I (the Great, 912973), Frederick I (Barbarossa, 112390), Frederick II (11941250), and Spanish-born Charles V (150058); Frederick William (162088), the "great elector" of Brandenburg; his great-grandson Frederick II (the Great, 171286), regarded as the most brilliant soldier and states-man of his age; Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck (181598), the Prussian statesman who made German unity possible; Austrian-born Adolf Hitler (18891945), founder of Nazism and dictator of Germany (193345); and Konrad Adenauer (18761967), FRG chancellor (194863). Walter Ernst Karl Ulbricht (18931973), chairman of the Council of State (196073), and leader of the SED from 1950 to 1971, was the dominant political figure in the GDR until his death in 1973. Erich Honecker (191294) became first secretary of the SED in 1971 and was chairman of the Council of State and SED general secretary from 1976 until the FRG and GDR merged in 1990. Willi Stoph (19141999), a member of the Politburo since 1953, served as chairman of the Council of Ministers in 196473 and again from 1976 on. Willy Brandt (19131992), FRG chancellor (196974) won the Nobel Peace Prize for his policy of Ostpolitik. Other Nobel Peace Prize winners were Ludwig Quidde (18581941), Gustav Stresemann (18781929), Carl von Ossietzky (18891938), and Albert Schweitzer (18751965).

Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben (173094) was a general in the American Revolution. Karl von Clausewitz (17801831) is one of the great names connected with the science of war. Important military leaders were Hellmuth von Moltke (18001891); Gen. Paul von Hindenburg (18471934), who also served as president of the German Reich (192534); and Gen. Erwin Rommel (18911944).

Pope Benedict XVI (b.Joseph Alois Ratzinger, 1927) became the 265th pope in 2005. He is the ninth German pope, the last being the Dutch-German Adrian VI (15221523).


Germany has no territories or colonies.


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GERMANY , country in north central Europe. The Talmud and the Midrash use "Germania" (or "Germamia") as a designation for northern European countries, and also refer to the military prowess of these peoples and to the threat they posed to the Roman Empire (Meg. 6b; Gen. R. 75:9; etc.). Medieval Jewish sources first refer to Germany as "Allemania" or "Lothir" (Lotharingia); later the biblical term "*Ashkenaz" came into use, and was retained in Hebrew literature and Jewish vernacular until recent times.

Middle Ages

There is no substance to the legends extant in the Middle Ages relating that Jews were present in Germany "before the Crucifixion." Supposedly the first Jews to reach Germany were merchants who went there in the wake of the Roman legions and settled in the Roman-founded Rhine towns. Archaeological evidence suggests that Jews may have lived in Augusta Raurica (Kaiseraugst) and Augusta Treverorum (*Trier). Imperial decrees regarding the duties of Jewish community officials were sent to Colonia Agrippinensis (*Cologne) in 321 and 331 c.e. (Cod. Theod., 16:8, 3–4; Aronius, Regesten, no. 2). There is, however, no evidence of continuous Jewish settlement in Germany from Late Antiquity to the early days of the German Empire. Jews entered Central Europe in this period from the west and the southwest; Jewish merchants from southern Italy and France were welcomed in Germany, and settled in the towns along the great rivers and trade routes. The *Kalonymos family from Lucca established itself in *Mainz in the tenth century. In its early stages German Jewry was closely linked with the Jewish communities of Northern France. A 12th-century Jewish scholar mentions a letter he saw in *Worms, which Rhine Jews had sent to Ereẓ Israel in 960, asking for verification of the rumor that the Messiah had come (rej, 44 (1902), 238). Ties were also maintained to the academies of Babylonia. Until the end of the 11th century the Jews of Germany engaged in international trade, especially with the East, and were an important element of the urban population. They were concentrated along the west bank of the Rhine, in Lorraine, and in ancient episcopal seats and trade centers, such as Cologne, Mainz, *Speyer, Worms, and Trier, as well as religious and political centers situated more eastward, such as *Regensburg and *Prague. The extant reports of Jewish settlement in Germany are of a haphazard nature, and the dating of such records does not necessarily establish the sequence of settlement. The first mention of Jewish settlement in Mainz dates from c. 900, of Worms from 960, and of Regensburg from 981. Jewish communities in south central Germany (*Bamberg, *Wuerzburg) and *Thuringia (*Erfurt) are mentioned in documents from the 11th century. In *Breslau and *Munich Jews are mentioned at the beginning of the 13th century, in *Vienna in the middle of that century, and in *Berlin (and other places) at its end. At the end of the tenth century (or the beginning of the 11th), *Gershom b. Judah ("Me'or ha-Golah") moved from *Metz to Mainz and that city became noted for Torah learning; the yeshivot of Mainz and Worms became spiritual centers for all the Jews in Central Europe and even attracted students from France, among them the famous *Rashi. For the Jews, the Carolingian Empire, although no longer a political entity, still remained a single social and cultural unit. Their social and legal status was distinct from that of the general population, and, as a small and largely defenseless minority, they required special protection to safeguard their existence. The first reports of persecution of Jews in Germany date from the 11th century (the expulsion of the Jews of Mainz in 1012), and the first written guarantees of rights, granted to them by emperors and bishops, also date from that century. In 1084 the archbishop of Speyer invited them to settle in his enlarged city "in order to enhance a thousandfold the respect accorded to our town" (Aronius, Regesten, 70 no. 168), and granted the Jews far-reaching trading rights and permission to put up a protective wall around their quarters. This evidence of the high value attached to Jews for settlement of a new town and the expansion of its trade precedes by only 12 years the "gezerot tatnav" (1096; see below). In 1090 Emperor *Henryiv issued charters of rights to the Jews of Speyer and Worms (ibid., 71–77 nos. 170–1), and succeeding emperors followed his example. All these writs acknowledged the right of the Jews to be judged "by their peers and no others … according to their law" (from a charter of 1090). In another such document, granted to the Jews of Worms in 1157, the emperor reserves for himself the exclusive right of judging the Jews "for they belong to our treasury." The guarantees of rights were given to the community leaders, who were also the spiritual leaders of the community, and were well-to-do men belonging to respected families. Communities that were accorded guarantees already possessed a synagogue (the Worms synagogue was founded in 1034) and public institutions. No reliable figures on the size of these Jewish communities are available; to judge by figures mentioned in the narratives of their martyrdom, there were communities of 2,000 persons (Mainz), but in general they consisted of several hundred, or several dozen. The community regulations enacted by the Jewish communities in Germany, and the commentaries and piyyutim written by their scholars (such as Gershom b. Judah and *Simeon b. Isaac) reveal a strong and simple faith, and readiness to die for it (and see takkanot of the period).

first crusade

Their faith was put to the supreme test during the first *Crusade, from April to June 1096. The brutal massacres that then took place are remembered in Jewish annuals as the gezerot tatnav (i.e., the massacres of 4856 = 1096). The first waves of crusaders turned upon the Jews of the Rhine valley. Although the emperor, the bishops, and Christian neighbors were reluctant to take part in this onslaught and tried to protect the Jews, this defense had small success. Several Hebrew reports written during the first half of the 12th century present a detailed narrative of the indomitable courage and religious devotion of those who chose a martyr's death (*kiddush ha-Shem). In Mainz, it is related that "in a single day one thousand and one hundred martyrs were slaughtered and died" (A.M. Habermann (ed.), Gezerot Ashkenaz ve-Ẓarefat (1945), 32). The martyrdom of Mainz Jewry was preceded by negotiations with the emperor by Kalonymos ben Meshullam; in response, Henry iv published an order in defense of the Jews, but this was of little help. The Jews offered armed resistance and it was only in the final stage that they committed suicide. Similar events took place in many communities on the Rhine and along the crusaders' route; many Jews chose martyrdom; others managed to save their lives by going into hiding (Speyer, Cologne, Worms, *Xanten, Metz). Some accepted temporary conversion, as in Regensburg, where "all were coerced" (ibid., 56). Later the emperor permitted their return to Judaism. The beginning of the Crusades inaugurated far-reaching changes in the social and economic structure of the Christian peoples in Western Europe and in their general outlook, and as a result also mark a turning point in the history of German Jewry. Henceforth physical attacks on Jews were more frequent and widespread, especially in periods of social or religious ferment. The city guilds forced the Jews out of the trades and the regular channels of commerce; this coincided with the stricter appliance of the church ban on usury in the 12th to 13th centuries. The combination of circumstances made *moneylending and pawnbroking the main occupation of Jews in Germany. They also continued in ordinary trade; as late as the 13th century they dealt in wool, attended the Cologne fairs, and traded with Russia and Hungary; during most of the Middle Ages there were even Jewish *craftsmen and Jews had some contact with *agriculture.

However moneylending, conceived by the Church as usury, became the hallmark of Jewish life in Germany. About 100 to 150 years after usury became the main occupation of Jews in England and France, it became central to the livelihood of Jews in Germany also. Jew hatred and the evil image of the Jew as conceived in the popular imagination were nourished by this economic pattern. Owing to the scarcity of money and lack of firm securities the rate of interest was extremely high. In 1244 the Jews of *Austria were given a bill of rights by Duke *Frederickii based on the assumption that interest was the Jews' main source of income; the bill contained detailed regulations on moneylending, and the rate of interest was fixed at 173⅓%. This kind of charter for Jews became typical of those granted in central and eastern Germany (and Poland) in the 13th and 14th centuries. Borrowing money from Jews against pawns became usual among the nobility and the townspeople, and enabled rabble-rousers to accuse the Jews of "sucking Christian blood" and of associating with gentile thieves who pawned their loot with the Jewish moneylenders. The Jews insisted on their right to refuse to return pawns unless reimbursed, a right confirmed as early as 1090. After the end of the 11th century the social status of the Jews steadily deteriorated. The Reichslandfrieden ("Imperial peace of the land") issued in 1103 includes the Jews among persons who bear no arms and are therefore to be spared violence and defended. The concepts which had determined the status of the Jews from the beginning of their settlement in Germany were now applied with increasing vigor. The need of the Jews for refuge and protection was now utilized by the urge to oppress and exploit them. A long-drawn-out process of legal and social development was finally summed up in 1236 by Emperor Frederick ii, when he declared all the Jews of Germany Servi camerae nostrae ("servants of our treasury"; Aronius, Regesten, 216 no. 496). This meant that from the legal point of view the Jews and their property were possessions of the emperor and hence entirely at his mercy. However they never fully experienced the severity of this concept as it was never fully applied to them; in a way, their status as servants of the imperial treasury was even welcomed for it assured them of imperial protection, protection which no other German authority was able or willing to afford them. Long after the concept of the servitude of the Jews had been applied in Germany, *Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg conceived that "the Jews are not glebae [adscripti = bound] to any particular place as gentiles are; for they are regarded as impoverished freemen who have not been sold into slavery; the government attitude is according to this" (Responsa, ed. Prague, no. 1001; cf. Tos. to bk 58a). The concepts that Jewish lives were not inviolable and that the Jews were in servitude to the country's rulers led to renewed outbursts of anti-Jewish violence whenever a critical situation arose. The second Crusade (1146) was again accompanied by widespread anti-Jewish agitation and incidents of violent persecution. However the experience of 1096 had taught a lesson both to the Jews and to the authorities: the Jews took refuge in the castles of the nobility, whenever possible having the entire citadel to themselves until the danger passed (see A.M. Habermann, op. cit. 117). The preaching of *Bernard of Clairvaux against doing the Jews physical harm also helped to restrain the masses. Thus a repetition of the earlier terrorization and slaughter did not take place. Between the second Crusade and the beginning of the 13th century the Jews were subjected to numerous attacks and libels but relatively few lost their lives as a result.

spiritual life

The events of 1096 had shaken German Jewry to the core; its response came in the form of tremendous spiritual and social creativity. Succeeding generations glorified the deeds of the martyrs and created a whole doctrine around the sanctification of God by martyrdom (kiddush ha-Shem). The ideas of self-sacrifice, *akedah, of choosing to meet "the Great Light" rather than apostasy, and of standing up to the attacker, were now formulated and transmitted as permanent principles. A special blessing was inserted into the prayer book to be recited by those who were about to be slain. In the 12th and 13th centuries the *Ḥasidei Ashkenaz ("pious men of Germany") formulated the principles of perfect piety, observance of "Heavenly Law" (din shamayim) which is above and beyond the "Law of the Torah," for the latter was given to man taking into account his yeḥer ha-ra ("evil inclination"). They taught that one should regard property as being held on trust (from God) only, and that one should abstain from lust without retiring from family and public life. The way of life to which this group adhered was established, in the main, by the members of a single family: *Samuel b. Kalonymos the Ḥasid of Speyer, his son *Judah b. Samuel he-Ḥasid of Regensburg, and their relative *Eleazar b. Judah (ha-Roke'aḥ) of Worms. Sefer Ẓasidim and Sefer ha-Roke'aḥ, two works written by these men, express the feelings and ideas of the ḥasidim of Germany on the greatness of God, on man's conduct in life, on ghosts and spirits, on sexual temptation and how to withstand it, on the true observance of commandments, and on love of learning as a foremost religious value.

social life

During this period further consolidation of the Jewish communal leadership in Germany took place. Jews increasingly restricted themselves to the Jewish quarter in the town, which gave them a greater feeling of security and made possible the development of an intense social life. The meliores (leading families) accepted the authority of the most eminent scholars. Torah learning was not interrupted in times of trouble and danger. It even received additional impetus from the need to provide leadership for the Jewish public and guidance to the individual, while the number of outstanding scholars also increased. Even the source of livelihood that was forced upon the Jews – lending money against interest – came to be appreciated as an advantage since it left time to spare for Torah study. Moneylending also determined the artificial structure of Jewish life; the Jews derived their income mainly from non-Jews, and there was hardly any economic exploitation of one Jew by another. As a result, there was a large measure of social cohesion in the German communities. The average community maintained a synagogue, a cemetery (or, if it was too small, obtained burial rights in a neighboring town), a bathhouse, and a place for weddings and other public festivities. A scholar attracted groups of students who lived in his home and were cared for by the scholar's wife (A.M. Habermann, op. cit., 165–6). Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg attests that his house was spacious and included "a bet midrash… a winter house [i.e., the main living quarters]… a courtyard for public use… a cool upper room where I eat in summer and… a room… for each student" (Responsa, ed. Cremona, no. 108). Community institutions developed. The community leaders and scholars – in gatherings on fair-days – issued takkanot regulating many spheres of life which were binding upon individual communities or groups of several communities. In the 13th century, *Eliezer b. Joel ha-Levi of Bonn established the principle that a majority decision also obligated the opposing minority, and unanimity was not required (contradicting the 12th-century French scholar Jacob b. Meir *Tam). Communal offices which had come into existence in the 12th and 13th centuries are listed in a document issued by the Cologne community in 1301: Nos Episcopus, magistratus Judeorum ac universi Judei civitatis Coloniensis ("We the bishop [i.e., the

leader], and officers of the Jews and the entire Jewish community of Cologne"; see Judenschreinsbuch, 92–93). From 1220 onward, the "Takkanot Shum," regulations issued by three of the great communities on the Rhine – Speyer, Worms, and Mainz (שו״ם, the initials of the three names) – have been preserved; joint meetings of the leaders of these three communities had a decisive influence on all the Jewish communities in Germany. German Jewry developed an independent leadership with a series of honors and degrees of rank. The intimacy of the small community enabled a person who felt wronged to turn to the public by means of interruption of prayer (see *bittul ha-tamid) in synagogue until he received redress. Families experienced the usual sorrows and joys, and also had their share of frivolities: "wild young men… who liked gambling" (Sefer Hasidim, ed. by J. Wistinetzki (19242), no. 109) and practical jokes at festivities (see also Tos. to Suk. 45a, s.v.Mi-Yad Tinnokot). The main purpose of the takkanot was to strengthen religious life and especially to provide for increased study of the Torah, the observance of sexual purity laws, of the Sabbath, etc. They also introduced innovations designed to strengthen community life: the obligation on the part of each individual to pay his tax assessment and to refrain from false declarations, and the right of the community officers to transfer funds from one purpose to another, when the common good required it. Considerable emphasis was put on strengthening the authority of the community leadership: members of the community were not permitted to accept appointments by the authorities or to ask the authorities for exemption from community taxes; every dispute between Jews had to be brought before Jewish judges; and Jews were not allowed to apply to non-Jewish courts. Excommunication of an individual required the consent of the community, as did the divorce of a wife. Gambling was outlawed and regulations were issued for the preservation of order in the synagogues and law courts and at public celebrations. Lending money to Jews against the payment of interest, and insulting anyone in public were also prohibited. In the 12th century the Jews still took part in the defense of the towns in which they lived. Eleazar b. Judah tells of "the siege of Worms by a great host on the Sabbath, when we permitted all the Jews to take up arms… for if they had not helped the townspeople they would have been killed… therefore we permitted it" (Sefer ha-Roke'aḥ (Cremona, 1557), 23a, Hilkhot Eruvin, no. 197). In this period, Jews also moved with the eastward trend of the population, and new Jewish communities were established in the east and southeast. Those who joined in the movement of the urban population eastward encountered the terrors and problems of new colonists: "When you build houses in the forest you find the inhabitants stricken with plague since the place is haunted by spirits… They asked the sage what they should do; he answered: Take the Ten Commandments and a Torah Scroll and stretch out a cord the length of the ground, and bring the Torah Scroll to the cord… and then at the end say: 'Before God, before the Torah, and before Israel its guardians, may no demon nor she-demon come to this place from today and for ever'" (Sefer Ḥasidim (ed. Wistinetzki), no. 371).

13th century

The 13th century brought new troubles upon the Jews. The Fourth *Lateran Council (1215) decreed that the clergy were to restrict business relations between Christians and Jews, that Jews had to wear signs distinguishing them from the Christians (see *badge), and that they were not to hold any public office. In 1235 the first case of *blood libel occurred in Germany (in *Fulda) and in the second half of the 13th century the libel of *Host desecration began to spread in the country. These accusations were to cost many Jewish lives, to cause Jews much anxiety and anguish, and to bring about further deterioration of their image in the eyes of their Christian neighbors, who now came to regard them as corrupt beings, capable of the most abominable crimes. The acceptance of such views of the Jews by the masses occurred at a time when imperial rule was weakening, and the right to the Jews' "servitude to the treasury" was passed on or transferred in different ways and for differing reasons to various local competencies. Religious fanaticism was rising and caused a social ferment in the cities, where the mob vented their anger on the Jews. In 1241, when the Jews of *Frankfurt on the Main tried to prevent one of their people from converting to Christianity, a Judenschlacht (Jews' slaughter) took place, in which the entire community was butchered by the Christian mob. In 1259 a synod of the Mainz archdiocese ordered that Jews within its borders should wear the yellow badge. In 1285 the entire Jewish community of *Munich – some 180 persons – was burned to death, victims of a libel that had been spread against them. The Jews also had a heavy tax burden. A partial list of imperial revenue, dating from 1241, reveals that in 25 Jewish communities the Jews paid 857 marks, amounting to 12% of the entire imperial tax revenue for the year (7,127.5 marks) and 20% of the total raised in the German cities. In addition to the regular taxes the Jews also had to make payments in the form of "presents" and bribes, or money was simply extorted from them. In this period – the second half of the 13th century – German Jewry produced great spiritual leaders. Foremost was Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg, whose responsa and instructions guided several generations of Jews. He attacked manifestations of injustice or high-handedness in communal affairs, and in his threnodies and other writings gave expression to the sufferings of his people. In the end, his own fate symbolized the distress of the Jews: trying to escape overseas, like other persecuted Jews in Germany, he was arrested, handed over to the emperor, and died in jail in 1293.

persecutions of the 14th century

At the end of the 13th century and the first half of the 14th, anti-Jewish excesses by the mob increased in vehemence and frequency, and the authorities were also increasingly oppressive. In 1342 Louis iv of Bavaria decreed that "every male Jew and every Jewish widow, of 12 years and above, is obliged to pay a yearly tax of one gulden." This poll tax was designed to increase the income that the emperor derived from the Jews, which had declined as the result of their "transfer" to lower authorities, and came in addition to the other taxes exacted from the Jews. In 1356 Emperor *Charlesiv transferred his claim over the Jews to the Imperial Electors. Within a period of 50 years the Jews of Germany suffered three devastating blows. In 1298–99, when civil war had broken out in southwest Germany, the Jews were accused of Host desecration, and the Jew-baiter, *Rindfleisch, gathered a mob around him which fell upon the Jews of Franconia, Bavaria, and the surrounding area, destroying no less than 140 communities (including *Rothenburg, Wuerzburg, *Nuremberg, and Bamberg). Many Jews chose a martyr's death and in many places also offered armed resistance. The period 1336–37 was marked by the catastrophe of the *Armleder massacres, in the course of which 110 communities, from Bavaria to Alsace, were destroyed by rioting peasants. Finally, in the massacres during the *Black Death, in 1348–50, 300 Jewish communities were destroyed in all parts of the country, and the Jews either killed, or driven out as "poisoners of wells." The greatest Jewish scholar of the time, *Alexander Suslin ha-Kohen, was among those slain in Erfurt, in 1349. As a result of these three onslaughts, the structure of Jewish life in Germany suffered a severe blow. Nevertheless, only a short while later, Jews were again permitted to take up residence in German cities, where there was no one else to fulfill their function in society of moneylenders. Only a few weeks after the slaughter of the Jews of *Augsburg the bishop permitted some to return to the city; between 1352 and 1355 Jews reappeared in Erfurt, Nuremberg, *Ulm, Speyer, Worms, and Trier. Their residence was now based on contracts which contained severe restrictions and imposed numerous payments on them. There was also increased exploitation of the Jews by the emperor; a moratorium on debts, declared by *Wenceslausiv in 1385 and again in 1390, dealt a severe blow to the economic situation of the Jews. Jewish vitality, however, was able to assert itself even in the adverse conditions that prevailed after the Black Death massacres. The scholars assured the continuity of Jewish creativity. In 1365, *Meir b. Baruch ha-Levi established a new school in Vienna, based upon the customs and traditions of the Rhine communities, and his disciples – the "Sages of Austria" – became the spiritual leaders of German Jewry. In east and south Germany, with fewer towns and a relatively backward economy, Jews found it easier to earn their livelihood. This was also the route to *Poland, which gradually turned into a refuge for the Jews. Until the Reformation there was no change in the precarious situation of the Jews of Germany. On the one hand, the disintegration of the Empire prevented large-scale countrywide expulsions: when the Jews were driven out of one locality they were able to bide their time in a neighboring place, and after a short while return to their previous homes; on the other hand, the lack of a central authority put the Jews at the mercy of local rulers. In general, the emperor, the princes, and the leading classes in the towns gave their protection to the Jews; yet a single fanatic anti-Jewish preacher, John of *Capistrano, found it possible to inflame the masses against the Jews and to initiate a new wave of persecutions (1450–59) which culminated in the expulsion of the Jews from Breslau.

15th century

The 15th century was generally marked by libels against Jews and their expulsion from certain areas and most major cities: in 1400 the Jews were expelled from Prague; in 1420, 1438, 1462, and 1473 there were successive expulsions from Mainz; in 1420–21 from Austria; in 1424 from Cologne; in 1440 from Augsburg; in 1475 the blood libel was raised in *Trent, resulting in anti-Jewish agitation and riots all over Germany, and the expulsion of the Jews from *Tyrol; in 1492 a Host desecration libel led to the expulsion of the Jews from *Mecklenburg; in 1493 they were driven out of *Magdeburg, and in the period 1450–1500, out of many towns in Bavaria, Franconia, and Swabia; in 1499 from Nuremberg; in 1510 there was another Host desecration libel and expulsion from *Brandenburg; in the same year expulsion from Alsace; and in 1519 from Regensburg. Of the more important cities in Germany, only Frankfurt and Worms still had major Jewish communities after that date. Nevertheless, in the course of the 15th century, amid these tribulations, Jews were also able to branch out into occupations other than moneylending. In the south German communities, there were Jewish wine merchants and petty traders. Jews also began to play a role in the expanding commercial life, acting as intermediaries between the large agricultural producer (such as the monasteries) and the rising city merchant; expelled from the cities and forced to live in the small towns and villages, the Jews bought wool, flax, etc., from the large storehouses and sold these commodities to the wholesale merchant. This was the beginning of a process which culminated in Poland in the 16th and 17th centuries with the Jews entering the service of the nobility as managers of their estates. Jewish life in the small communities of Germany was frequently marked by great material and spiritual hardship. Yet the Jews did all in their power to fulfill the commandments of their faith. Israel *Isserlein's Pesakim u-Khetavim (Venice, 1545), para. 52, records a "curious event" in south Germany, when several communities had only a single etrog to share among them on the Sukkot festival; they cut the fruit up and sent a piece to each community, and although shriveled by the time it reached its destination, the Jews made the prescribed blessing over their slice of etrog on the first day of the festival. Despite their poverty and sufferings, Jews held on to the normal joys of life. Jacob Moses *Moellin permitted "placing tree branches in water on the Sabbath … in order to provide a source of joy for the house" (Jacob b. Moses Moellin, Maharil (Cremona, 1558), 38b); when asked about celebrating a wedding in a community where a local ordinance forbade the participation of musicians, the same rabbi advised that the wedding be moved to another community, where music could be made, rather than have the bride and bridegroom forego the pleasure (ibid., 41b). Even at a time when persecutions were actually taking place, the Jews persisted in their way of life and in study of the Torah. Thus Moses *Mintz, while writing a halakhic decision, records that "the time limit given us by the bishop [of Bamberg] for leaving the town has been reached, for he would not allow us a single additional day or even hour" (Resp. Maharam Mintz, para. 48). The rabbis' position became widely acknowledged in this period, and they were regarded as "the leaders." It may be assumed that it was Meir b. Baruch ha-Levi's school that established the custom of semikhah (rabbinical ordination) and of awarding the title of Morenu ("our teacher") to a graduate rabbi, a custom which Ashkenazi Jews have still retained. At the same time the rabbis often engaged in bitter quarrels over the question of jurisdiction, and the position of the rabbi. These quarrels largely resulted from the difficulties facing the Jewish spiritual leaders, who tried, in a permanent state of insecurity, to rebuild communities that had been destroyed. The rabbinical leaders of this period – Meir b. Baruch ha-Levi and his disciples, Jacob b. Moses Moellin, Israel Isserlein (author of Terumat ha-Deshen), Moses Mintz, Israel b. Ḥayyim *Bruna, and others – were dedicated men who did all in their power to establish new yeshivot and spread the study of Torah, but they did not achieve the degree of leadership displayed by their predecessors. An extreme example of a scholar devoted to his yeshivah was that of Jacob b. Moses Moellin "who would live in a house alone with his students, next to the house of his wife the 'rabbanit,' while her sons were with her in her house; nor did he enjoy a mite of his wife's property during her lifetime or eat with her. Only the communal leaders supplied him with sufficient means to support the students of his yeshivah, while he himself earned a livelihood as a marriage broker" (Maharil, 76a). His yeshivah was attended not only by poor scholars, but by "those rich and pampered youths who had tables made for them – when they sat down in their seats they could turn the table in any direction they pleased, and kept many books on them" (Leket Yosher, ed. by J. Freimann (1903), yd 39). The debate with Christianity did not die down in this period, and Yom Tov Lipmann *Muelhausen raised it to new heights of sharp polemical argument in his Sefer ha-Niẓẓaḥon (see *Disputations).

Emperors resorted to the most extreme measures in order to extort money from the Jews. The most extortionate was Sigismund who demanded one-third of their property. In 1407, Rupert of Wittelsbach appointed Israel b. Isaac of Nuremberg to the office of Hochmeister (chief rabbi), and sought to give him sole powers of sequestering Jewish property. The communities, however, refused to acknowledge the authority of a Jew appointed by gentiles and eventually the king abandoned his attempt. Sigismund named several "chief rabbis" for the purpose of improving the collection of the oppressive taxes that he imposed upon the Jews, including well-known rabbinical leaders. It is not clear, however, to what extent these appointments were recognized by the communities, and the responsa literature of the period contains no specific references to such appointments. At any rate, a proposal made by Seligmann Oppenheim Bing (see *Bingen) to convene a conference which would create a chief rabbinate was rejected by most of his rabbinical colleagues.

In sum, the last few centuries of the Middle Ages were a period of severe and difficult changes for the Jews of Germany. The center of gravity, both in population and intellectual activity, shifted steadily eastward. From their position as desirable traders the Jews were driven by the religious and social forces which gained ascendancy in the 12th and 13th centuries into the despised occupation of usury. The 50 years from 1298 to 1348 took a tragic toll on both life and property. Despite the trials and tribulations of the Middle Ages the Jews of Germany displayed their own creative powers in halakhic literature and religious poetry, and in the establishment of communal institutions. Although they did not disdain the innocent joys of life, they were exacting in the application of the Law and were imbued with the spirit of ascetic piety. Kiddush ha-Shem– martyrdom for the sanctification of God – and their particular pietism (Ḥasidut Ashkenaz), in both theory and practice, were authentic contributions of German Jewry to the realm of supreme Jewish values.

[Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson]

From the Reformation To World War i

The age of the Reformation was characterized by upheavals in all spheres of life – political, economic, social, religious, and cultural. It also produced new attitudes to Jews and Judaism often of a conflicting nature. When the Middle Ages came to an end, the Jews had suffered expulsion from most German cities, as well as from many other localities and areas: *Heilbronn 1475, *Tuebingen 1477, Bamberg 1478, *Esslingen 1490, Mecklenburg 1492, Magdeburg 1493, *Reutlingen 1495, Wuerttemberg and Wuerzburg 1498, Nuremberg and Ulm 1499, *Noerdlingen 1507, the state of Brandenburg 1510, Regensburg 1519, Rottenburg 1520, and *Saxony 1537. Jews were prohibited from practicing most occupations. Many now had to earn a livelihood from hawking haberdashery, peddling, moneylending, and pawnbroking in the small towns and villages. Interest rates were subject to severe regulations, and wearing of the humiliating badge was enforced. In various states Jews were prohibited from building new synagogues and from holding discussions on religious questions without Church authorization. However, Emperor *Charlesv (at assemblies of the Reichstag in Augsburg 1530, Regensburg 1541, Speyer 1544, and Augsburg 1548) authorized in full the charters granted to the Jews by previous emperors.

At the very time that humanism was coming to the fore, the libels against the Jews, accusing them of using human blood for ritual purposes and of desecrating the Host, were continually resuscitated, and resulted in further killings and expulsions: *Endingen 1470, Regensburg 1476, *Passau 1477, *Trent 1475, Sternberg (Mecklenburg) 1492, Engen (Swabia) 1495, Berlin 1500, Langendenzlingen 1503, Frankfurt 1504, Brandenburg 1520. Some humanists acknowledged the religious and moral values inherent in Judaism and took up its defense, but in folk literature and the mystery plays the Jew was depicted as a usurer and bloodsucker, as the Christ-killer and reviler of the Virgin Mary, an associate of Satan and ally of the Turk. Yet the humanist Johann *Reuchlin led a courageous struggle against the defamation of the Talmud and called for equal rights for the Jews, as "cocitizens of the Roman Empire." Martin *Luther, after failing to win them, showed vehement hatred for the Jews, and in his writings called upon the secular rulers to deprive them of their prayer books and Talmud, to destroy their homes, to put them on forced labor or expel them from the land. There were, however, other reforming movements, especially the Anabaptists, who appreciated the Jewish Bible and Judaism and displayed sympathy and love for the Jews. The Jews were also caught in the struggle between the emperor, on the one hand, and the princes and cities, on the other. The emperors, whose power was on the decline, made efforts to retain their control of the Jews, to protect them against local potentates, and to remain the sole beneficiaries of the taxes paid by the Jews. The opposing forces, bent upon establishing their independence of the emperor, also tried to extend their supremacy over the Jews and tax them. When attacking the Jews the princes and city governments were not only motivated by the traditional hatred, but also by their desire to reduce the emperor's authority and force the Jews to seek protection from them rather than the emperor. As a result, the Jews were often forced to pay taxes to two or even three different authorities. This situation, however, also prevented a general expulsion of the Jews from Germany at a time when this had become the lot of the Jews in most countries of Western Europe. The Jews also became the subject of controversy between the local rulers and the Estates (Staende) – the nobility, the ruling clergy, and the privileged townsmen. The latter had the power of levying taxes and tried to extend their power in various ways, including control of the Jews. To some degree the persecutions of Jews in the 15th and 16th centuries, which coincided with a rise in the power of the Estates, were the result of this struggle; thus, the Host desecration libel against Jews in Brandenburg, in 1510, was also an expression of the opposition of the Estates to Elector Joachim i, who had given several Jews permission to settle in the country, despite the Estates' objections. Other internal differences also affected the situation of the Jews, such as the antagonism between the princes and the landed gentry, and the cities. The former would permit Jews who had been expelled from the cities to settle on their lands, thereby gaining additional taxpayers who were also skilled merchants able to compete with the hated townsmen and provide the princes and estate-owners with better and cheaper supplies. The sweeping economic changes that took place in the 16th and 17th centuries also had their effect upon the situation of the Jews. The early manifestations of nascent capitalism caused much suffering among the masses of the people. Failing to grasp the meaning of the social and economic upheaval, they found in the Jew a scapegoat on whom they could blame their troubles, whom they had always been taught to regard as their enemy and exploiter. The demands for equality and justice which emerged from the social unrest in the cities included a call for the expulsion of the Jews "for the devastating harm that their presence brings to the plain people." The patrician class, which had supported the Jews in the cities, made way to the guilds, who adhered to a narrow social and economic outlook and would not tolerate any competition. They were also opposed to foreigners, especially if these were infidels. The numerous instances of expulsion that occurred in this period were to a large degree the outcome of these new developments in the structure of the economy. An outstanding Jewish personality of this period was *Joseph (Joselman) b. Gershon of Rosheim who in the course of his life made tremendous efforts to ease the lot of German Jewry and enable them to withstand the onslaught of the diverse forces arraigned against them.

the absolutist principalities

Absolutism, followed by enlightened absolutism, and the mercantile system of economy introduced into kingdoms and principalities, brought far-reaching changes in the situation of the Jews. In its enlightened and mercantilist version, the system that now evolved regarded interests of state as supreme and attached the greatest value to money, commerce, and increase of population; it also came to judge the Jews from the point of view of these interests. The taxes paid by the Jews were highly lucrative, for they were among the few paid directly into the coffers of the ruler, and did not depend upon the consent of the Estates. Rulers welcomed wealthy Jews with capital and economic experience who could make important contributions to internal and international trade and to the development of industry. In *Hamburg, Portuguese Jews who had been expelled from their native country founded the Hamburg Bank which promoted commerce with Spain and Portugal and traded in tobacco, wine, textiles, cotton, etc. Saxony invited Jews to the *Leipzig Fair in order to forge new trade links with Switzerland, Holland, Italy, and England. Karl Ludwig, the enlightened elector of the Palatinate – a land which had been devastated by the Thirty Years' War – invited Jews to settle there in order to help restore trade and found industries. In Brandenburg, Frederick William, "the Great Elector," permitted 50 Jewish families who had been driven out of Austria to settle in Berlin and elsewhere, granting them extensive privileges and unrestricted trade throughout the country (1670/71). Jews were allowed to settle in *Frankfurt on the Oder, in order to infuse new life into the fair held in that city; in *Cleves, in order to facilitate transit trade with Holland; in *Pomerania and East Prussia, in order to attract commerce to the eastern portion of the country; and in Berlin itself, in order to make it the commercial center of Brandenburg and northeast Germany. The regime of the absolutist states instituted a system of supervision of the Jews which both regulated every detail of their lives and exploited them (see *Frederickii of Prussia). An unending series of laws and regulations, ordinances, decrees, patents, and privileges, circumscribed the entry and settlement of Jews, the length of their stay, the number of marriages and number of children, matters of inheritance and guardianship, the conduct of business and their moral behavior, their taxes, and even the goods they had to buy, for instance, china –Judenporzellan – in Prussia. Violation of these provisions resulted in severe penalties (and see *Austria, *Berlin, *Prussia).

social and spiritual life

In their internal organization, the Jewish communities, up to the 18th century, continued to base themselves in the main upon the pattern established in the Middle Ages. In many of the communities that had reestablished themselves after an earlier expulsion, leadership became largely a function of wealth. It was not until after the *Chmielnicki massacres of 1648 and the Russian-Polish war (1654–55) that scholars, preachers, and teachers from Poland and Lithuania who took refuge in Germany began to play an important role in Jewish education. At the end of the 17th century the absolutist rulers adopted a policy of interfering in the internal affairs of the communities; as a result, the authority of the autonomous community organs was gradually reduced – a development which corresponded with the abolition of the powers that had previously been vested in the guilds and city councils.

Following upon the Thirty Years' War, proper *conferences of rabbis and community leaders were convened, to which "all the Jewish residents" of the country were invited, in order to decide upon a fair distribution of the tax burden. The powers of these conferences were severely restricted; they could not be held without official permission, and the authorities fought to confine their activities to tax collection. Nevertheless, the conferences in fact became an overall community forum and dealt with all matters that had traditionally been the concern of Jewish autonomous bodies (and see *Landjudenschaft). The authority of the rabbis was reduced in the 18th century by both the secular leaders of the communities and by the authorities, and when *emancipation was introduced, they were divested of their juridical powers. The ferment and crisis caused by the *Shabbateans had a profound effect upon Jewish social and spiritual life in Germany at the end of the 17th century. The two great scholars and spiritual leaders of this period were Jair Ḥayyim *Bacharach and Ẓevi Hirsch *Ashkenazi. The memoirs of *Glueckel of Hameln reflect the life of well-to-do Jews in the 17th to 18th centuries – their business methods, piety, family life, and ties maintained with neighbors. She gives a vivid description of messianic fervor in Germany with the appearance of Shabbetai Ẓevi. *Messianism and *Kabbalah remained at the center of Jewish spiritual life in Germany until the middle of the 18th century as a result of the passions aroused by the fierce controversy between Jonathan *Eybeschuetz and Jacob *Emden. At the same time, affluent Jews in urban communities began to adapt their ways of life to that of the Christian burghers. Around 1700 young women took Italian or French language lessons with Christian teachers, and entertained themselves learning how to draw or play a musical instrument. The deficiencies of the Jewish educational system, which took little if any interest in the education of girls and failed to provide a well-founded and consequential curriculum for boys, were decried by many authors of that time. Towards the close of the early modern era, the social, economic, religious, and cultural profile of German Jewry was highly diversified.

court jews

A characteristic innovation of the era of absolutism and the mercantile system was the appearance of the *Court Jews. Some of the Court Jews abandoned Jewish tradition and their ties with the Jewish people; others remained faithful and used their wealth and position to help their brethren. In some instances their intervention succeeded in averting anti-Jewish measures; they built synagogues at their expense, published religious books, and founded institutions of learning. Court Jews were instrumental in reestablishing communities that had been destroyed during the Reformation (e.g., in *Dresden, Leipzig, *Kassel, *Brunswick, and *Halle). The precariousness of their position could affect both themselves and the Jewish community; as they were dependent upon the whim of the absolutist ruler, any change in his attitude could mean their downfall, and this was often followed by anti-Jewish measures of a general nature. In fact the Court Jews led a double life, often marked by tragedy – as instanced by such figures as Samuel *Oppenheimer, Samson *Wertheimer, and Joseph Suess *Oppenheimer.


Toward the end of the 18th century there were significant changes in the situation of German Jewry. Large parts of Poland were incorporated into Prussia and their substantial Jewish population became a reservoir of manpower and spiritual values for German Jewry as a whole. At the same time the growth of the Jewish population in major urban centers – such as Berlin – where the Jewish communities were comparatively new and unencumbered by age-old local tradition and custom furthered the turn toward *assimilation in German society. The background to this development was the Haskalah (enlightenment) movement, which was met in its aspirations by the claims of enlightened gentiles for the "moral and social betterment" of the Jews and the abolishment of all social and legal discrimination (see also C.W. von *Dohm; W. von *Humboldt; *Josephii; G.E. *Lessing). These developments gave rise to considerable ferment in German Jewry. Moses *Mendelssohn, who wrote and published in Hebrew and German, and whose works made major contributions to pre-Kantian German philosophy as well as to Jewish spiritual life, was widely esteemed as the representative figure of German Jewry in the enlightenment period. Rabbis of the period, such as David Tevele *Schiff of Lissa and Akiva *Eger, took up the struggle against the "enlightened" and the assimilationists, but the bans and excommunications they issued failed to turn the tide.

effects of the french revolution

The emancipation granted to the Jews of France by the *French Revolution was soon carried over into Germany by the revolutionary armies. In the states on the left bank of the Rhine, which were incorporated into the French Republic, the Jews became French citizens. When more German states were conquered by *Napoleon, and the Confederation of the Rhine was created, these states, upon French insistence, also declared equal rights for the Jews and granted them freedom to engage in commerce on the same basis as all other citizens (e.g., in Wuerttemberg and the grand duchy of *Berg). Napoleon's "infamous decree" of 1808, which imposed restrictions on Jewish trade and commerce and limited the freedom of movement, was a serious setback to Jewish emancipation in the areas under French domination but was not reinforced in 1818. In Frankfurt and in the Hanseatic cities emancipation was announced in 1811. In 1808 the Jews of *Baden were declared "free citizens of the state for all time" and in 1809 a "Supreme Israelite Council" was formed in that state, which had the task of reforming Jewish education so that the Jews should reach the same cultural and spiritual standards as their environment and eventually achieve full equality. In Prussia, emancipation of the Jews was part of the reforms introduced by H.F.K. von Stein and K.A. *Hardenberg after the defeat suffered by the kingdom in 1806/07. This was followed by the edict of 1812 granting equal rights and privileges to the Jews, and the abolition of the special taxes imposed on them. In Bavaria, the edict of 1813 declared the Jews full citizens of the state but severely restricted their freedom of residence. These regulations, aimed at limiting and, if possible, reducing the number of Jews, were a main factor behind the massive emigration of young Jews from Bavaria to the United States in the following decades.

post-napoleonic reaction

The fall of Napoleon and the victory of the Holy Alliance resulted, almost everywhere, in the restoration of the previous state of affairs and the withdrawal of the equality that the Jews had achieved. Although the Congress of *Vienna had decided that the rights granted to the Jews in the various German states should be retained, the newly restored governments interpreted this decision as not applicable to the rights given to the Jews by the French or by the governments appointed by Napoleon. The "Jewish statutes," enacted by the Prussian provincial governments, repealed the 1812 emancipation edict in fact, although the edict as such was not canceled. Anti-Jewish feelings revived in the post-Napoleonic period, not only because the political and economic emancipation of the Jews was regarded as one of the Napoleonic reforms that had to be removed, but also as part of a spiritual and cultural reaction, an expression of a Christian-Teutonic, romantic and nationalist Weltanschauung. The new conservatism sought to replace the ideals of equality of the French Revolution with the harsh tradition of the past, and regarded the patriarchal state and feudal institutions as the natural political way of life for the German people. This view of state and society was accompanied by an emotional religious revival, and the concept of a "Christian-Teutonic" or "German-Christian" state came into being. In the effort to forge a German national identity the Jews, as "strangers within," were often portrayed as the negative counterpart of the Germans. A sharp literary debate was waged over the Jewish problem and the place of the Jews in the German state and society. Opinions on the preconditions, the pace, and the range of further emancipatory steps varied greatly, and the more vehement advocates of a "German-Christian" state rejected such steps altogether unless the Jews would renounce Judaism. The clash between the rationalist and romantic concept of society largely marked the relations between Germans and Jews in the period from 1815 to 1848. Anti-Jewish agitation was especially intense in the years after the Congress of Vienna, and in 1819 the *Hep-Hep riots spread across large parts of Germany and even Denmark.

assimilation and reform

At the beginning of the 19th century, the social, economic, and legal conditions as well as the religious and cultural horizons of Jewish life were more diverse than ever before in German-Jewish history. The cultural and intellectual reorientation of the Jewish minority was closely linked with its struggle for equal rights and social acceptance. While earlier generations had used solely the Yiddish and Hebrew languages among themselves, and few had possessed even a limited reading ability in German, the use of Yiddish was now gradually abandoned, and Hebrew was by and large reduced to liturgical usage. Elementary schooling was made mandatory for Jewish children – in Baden in 1809, in Prussia in 1824 – and remaining Jewish educational institutions were put under the surveillance of state authorities. The juridical competence of the Rabbinate, already weakened in the era of Absolutism in most German states, was further reduced, as was Jewish communal autonomy in general. While the need for profound changes and an adaptation of Jewish life and Judaism to the circumstances and necessities of the modern era was widely acknowledged, opinions on the nature, the direction, and the extent of such changes differed greatly. Jewish intellectuals like Rachel *Varnhagen, Henriette *Hertz, Eduard *Gans, Friedrich Julius *Stahl, August *Neander, Ludwig *Boerne, and Heinrich *Heine converted to Christianity, but the overall importance of baptism, and the numerical loss it inflicted on German Jewry in this era, have often been overstated. Others sought to preserve what they regarded as the essence of Judaism. They initiated *Reform in Jewish religion, to ease the burden of the precepts which prevented Jews from establishing close relations with the people among whom they lived, and to stress and develop in Judaism spiritual and ethical concepts of faith and life. This was the attitude of the "Society for the Culture and Science of Judaism," among whose founders were Isaac Levin *Auerbach, E. Gans, H. Heine, Isaac Marcus *Jost, Moses *Moser, and Leopold *Zunz. The desire to employ the criteria and methods of modern scholarship in the field of traditional Jewish learning gave rise to the *Wissenschaft des Judentums, which soon made Germany the center of scientific study of Jewish history and culture. The actual reformers – Abraham *Geiger, Samuel *Holdheim, and their associates, sought to reshape the Jewish faith so as to make it compatible with the spirit and culture of the time and facilitate the achievement of equal rights and creation of close relations with Christians. These reformers were violently opposed by the leaders of traditional Judaism of the time, and bitter strife ensued. Other trends emerged which attempted to find a compromise between the two extremes – the "historical-positive" school of Zacharias *Frankel, and "*Neo-Orthodoxy," founded by Samson Raphael *Hirsch and Azriel (Israel) *Hildesheimer. In several places the Neo-Orthodox, who were unwilling to retain organizational ties with their Reform brethren, founded separate communities. In 1876 Prussia adopted the Austrittsgesetz ("Law on Withdrawal from the Jewish Community") under which Jews were permitted to dissociate from the existing Jewish community for religious reasons, and yet be recognized as Jews. By this act the compulsory membership of the community, provided for in a law adopted in 1847, was abolished; the "separatist" Orthodox communities (Austrittsgemeinde) were legalized and at the same time individual Jews were enabled to leave the organized Jewish community without having to go through formal conversion.

economic and social life

From the political and sociological aspect, the history of German Jewry in the first half of the 19th century is marked by their economic and social rise, and by the struggle for emancipation. (See Table: Socio-Economic Structure – Jews.) The political reaction of the "Holy Alliance" period, while succeeding in depriving the Jews of most of their political achievements, had little effect upon their rights in economic and commercial matters. Jews entered all branches of economy in the cities, contributing to the development of industry and capitalism and benefiting from it. At the end of the 18th century most of the German Jews still lived in small towns, their communities rarely exceeding a few dozen families; even in the "large" communities such as Hamburg or Frankfurt they numbered no more than several hundred families (1,000 to 2,000 persons). In the course of the 19th century many Jews left the small towns for the large centers of commerce. Augmented also by the influx of Jews from the east, the communities expanded rapidly, and by the end of the century most of the Jews of Germany lived in the large cities – Breslau, Leipzig, Cologne, in addition to Hamburg and Frankfurt, and particularly in Berlin, which eventually comprised one-third of German Jewry. The standard of living of many Jewish merchants, industrialists, and bankers equaled that of the German middle and upper classes. A large class of Jews in the liberal professions came into being and Jews took an increasingly active part in cultural life, in literature, and science. This development served to step up the Jewish demand for emancipation. Both Reform and Neo-Orthodox felt that the grant of equal rights should not depend upon any demand for diminution of their Jewish identity according to the conceptions of each trend. In this they encountered opposition even on the part of Christian liberals, such as H.E.G. Paulus and H. von *Treitschke, who held that so long as the Jews clung to their religious practice and maintained their specific communal cohesion they were not entitled to participation in the political life of the country. While these liberals did not demand apostasy, they felt that full rights should not be granted to the Jews unless they abandoned their distinctive practices, such as kashrut, observance of the Sabbath, and even circumcision. The Jews, on the other hand, encouraged by their economic progress and the rise of their educational level, took strong exception to this view, voicing their opinion that equality was a natural right that could not be withheld from them, whatever the pretext. Convinced that their struggle was intimately connected with the full social and political liberation of the German people and the creation of a free, democratic, and liberal German state, they pleaded their cause before the German public in word and print and took an active part in the German movement for national and political liberation. The chief spokesman of the Jewish struggle for emancipation was Gabriel *Riesser; others were Johann *Jacoby and Ludwig Boerne.

Industry and trades19.322.0
Commerce and transportation56.050.6
Hired workers0.40.6
Public services and liberal professions6.16.5
Self-employed with no profession16.719.0


Jews took part in the 1848–49 revolution and there were several Jews among the members of the Frankfurt Parliament (including Gabriel Riesser). The "Basic Laws of the German People" promulgated by this parliament extended equal rights to the Jews by accepting the principle that religious affiliation should in no way influence the full enjoyment of civil and political rights. Ironically, anti-Jewish violence was widespread in many areas during the revolutionary unrest, and often aimed at thwarting further emancipatory steps. The achievements of 1848–49 were curtailed by the reaction that set in during the 1850s, following the collapse of the revolutionary movement; however, the rise of the middle classes, including the Jews, did not come to a halt, and liberal tendencies continued to make headway. Nor did the Jews themselves give up the struggle. In 1869 the North German Confederation abolished the civil and political restrictions that still applied to the members of certain religions; after the 1870 war, the same law was adopted by the south German states and included in the constitution of the newly established German Reich. Many German Jews now felt that the attainment of political and civil equality had also erased their separate Jewish identity, not only in their own estimation but in that of the Germans as well. In the period from 1871 to 1914, German Jews indeed became a part of the German people from the constitutional point of view, and, in a large measure, also from the practical point of view. According to the law, every sphere of German life became open to them, whether economic, cultural, or social, with one exception: they were not permitted to participate in the government of the country. But usually, in spite of the constitutional guarantees, Jews were not appointed to official positions, nor could they become officers in the army. In general, Jews were also barred from appointments as full professors at the universities, although there were large numbers of Jews of lower academic rank. Jews were active in the economy of the country and some became leading bankers, industrialists, and businessmen; there was also a large number of Jews in the liberal professions. Jews were among the founders and leaders of the political parties; the Liberal and Social-Democrat parties usually had a number of Jewish members in the Reichstag. In the sciences and technology, in

YearJewish population
1 Jews defined by religion.
2 Jews defined by Nuremberg law.
3 Estimated number includes displaced persons.

literature, the press, the theater and the arts the share of Jews was disproportionately high.

The Jewish population in Germany numbered 512,158 in 1871 (1.25% of the total), 562,612 in 1880 (1.24%), 567,884 in 1890 (1.15%), 586,833 in 1900 (1.04%), and 615,021 in 1910 (0.95%). (See Table: Jewish Population in Germany.) Demographically, German Jewry shared many of the general characteristics of a largely urbanized population element and was among the first communities to feel the effects of the practice of birth control. At the beginning of the 20th century natural increase among German Jewry came to a complete end. It was the steady influx from the east which enabled German Jewry to maintain its numerical strength.


In the period following the foundation of the German Reich a shadow fell across the tranquility and prosperity enjoyed by German Jewry which darkened increasingly: the manifestation of antisemitism among the German public. Although its virulence varied, it existed throughout this period, and took on the form of political movements. It did not, however, affect the formal legal status of the Jews who therefore regarded antisemitism as mainly a social, cultural, and spiritual problem; its potential political strength and danger were not recognized by either Jews or non-Jews.

internal life

Despite widespread assimilation, independent Jewish creativity did not come to an end. For a significant part of German Jews, Jewish consciousness retained its strength. The constant influx of Jews from the east ("Ostjuden") was also an important factor in preventing total assimilation. The presence of these newcomers created a certain amount of tension, both among Germans who resented their successful integration into economic life, and among the "old" Jewish families, who disapproved of the Ostjuden manners and of the way they had of making themselves conspicuous in the community. Zionism had an early start among German Jewry. Although small in numbers, the Zionists were well organized and worked effectively for their cause. German Jews were among the leaders of the World Zionist Movement; two of the presidents of the World Zionist Organization – D. *Wolfsohn and O. *Warburg – were German Jews, as was the founder and organizer of agricultural settlement in Ereẓ Israel, A. *Ruppin. After the death of Theodor Herzl, the headquarters of the Zionist Organization was moved to Germany and remained there even during World War i. By their high standard of general education and strict separation from Reform Jews, the German Neo-Orthodox exercised a profound influence upon observant Jews in other parts of the world. They had created a new type of Jew, who could be a qualified professional man, highly educated and versed in the manners of the world, and yet at the same time strictly observant of religious practice. It was men of this type who became the leaders of the world movement of *Agudat Israel after the founding of that organization in 1912. Orthodox chaplains serving in the German forces during World War i did a great deal to spread the principles of Agudat Israel among East European Jews. The confrontation with East European Jewish life also had a profound influence on German Jews serving in the forces; they were attracted by the wholesomeness of the life led by the Jewish masses, and many became convinced Zionists. German Jewish life was well organized. Organizations were established for the consolidation of the communities and for combating antisemitism (see *Centralverein), for social welfare (the *"Hilfsverein"), for research and studies (the rabbinical seminars: the *Breslau Juedisch-theologisches Seminar, established in 1854; the Berlin *Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums, founded in 1872; the *Rabbinerseminar fuer das orthodoxe Judentum in Berlin, also founded in 1872; the Historical Commission established in 1885, etc.). All were active and highly efficient. Throughout the second half of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th, German Jewry occupied a highly respected place among world Jewry, exercising a profound influence on Jewish centers in Eastern and Western Europe, in America, and in Ereẓ Israel.

[Samuel Miklos Stern]


The history of German Jewry in the interwar period is sharply divided into two chapters: the period up to 1933, which was a time of great prosperity; and the period which began in 1933, a year which was to mark the beginning of the tragic end of German Jewry.

Over 100,000 Jews had served in the German army during World War i, and 12,000 Jews fell in battle. At the end of the war, when the monarchy had fallen and a democratic republic was established, it seemed that the Jews had achieved full emancipation. Any restrictions that were still in force were abolished by the Weimar Republic, and Jews could now participate in every sphere of public life. Their share and influence in the political life of the country reached unprecedented proportions. Many of the leaders of the democratic and socialist parties were Jews, as were two of the six "people's commissars" which made up the first post-revolutionary German government (O. *Landsberg and H. *Haase). In Bavaria, Jews played an even more significant role; the head of the revolutionary government was a Jew, Kurt *Eisner, and the majority of the prominent representatives of the two Soviet-type governments set up after Eisner's murder consisted of Jewish intellectuals (Eugen *Leviné, Gustav *Landauer, Ernst *Toller, etc.). The inquiry commission which was to determine the responsibility of the military leadership for Germany's defeat had among its members Oscar *Cohn, a Social Democrat and Zionist. The Weimar Constitution was drafted by a Jew, Hugo *Preuss; another Jew, Walther *Rathenau, first became minister of reconstruction and later foreign minister: his murder by young extremists was motivated largely by antisemitism. Several Jews were appointed to high positions in the civil service, especially in Prussia. The rise of Jews to positions of political power added to their economic and social advance, but also increased hostility among the population. Antisemitic propaganda exploited a series of financial scandals and bankruptcies

in which Jews were involved. The background to these events was the great social and economic crisis which gripped Germany as a result of the terrible inflation after the war. Right-wing circles in Germany, anxious to divert public attention from the real beneficiaries of inflation – the "pure Aryan" industrial and financial barons and their giant enterprises – were more than ready to use the anti-Jewish propaganda for their purposes. The middle class, heavily hit by the economic upheaval, the nobility and the officer class who felt their honor besmirched by the defeat and whose privileges were abolished in the revolution, were all easily swayed by the idea that it was the Jews who were to blame for all of Germany's misfortunes – that "the Jews had stabbed the undefeated German army in the back," and thus forced it to surrender; that Capitalism and "Marxism" (i.e., Bolshevism and Socialism) were the result of the machinations of "World Jewry." In the 1920s, however, the full implications of this antisemitic mood had not yet become apparent, and the situation of the Jews seemed satisfactory. It was not until 1933, when the Nazis came to power and based their program upon the "doctrine of race" – i.e., hatred of Jews – that the role of the "Jewish problem" for the internal historical development of Germany stood fully revealed.

Throughout the Weimar Republic antisemitism did not disappear. Even the assimilationists among the Jews had to acknowledge this fact, and some reacted by over-emphasizing their German nationalism, thereby hoping to set themselves apart from the rest of the Jews. As a result of the large increase of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe, the old difference between "Eastern" and "Western" Jews became more pronounced and had many practical implications. Jewish organizations did their best to facilitate the absorption of the newcomers and created special institutions for this purpose, such as the Welfare Bureau for Jewish Workers. Among a certain segment of German Jews there was now also deep admiration of an "authentic" East European culture, as can be seen in the enthusiastic reception of Yiddish and Hebrew theater groups, the popularity of Martin Buber's ḥasidic tales, and new cultural creations idealizing East European Jewry, such as Arnold Zweig's Das Osjüdische Antlitz ("The Eastern Jewish Countenance") with drawings of Hermann Struck. According to the 1925 census, there were 564,379 Jews in Germany, representing 0.9% of the total population. One-third lived in Berlin, another third in the other large cities, while the remaining third lived in 1,800 different places with organized Jewish communities and another 1,200 places where there were no organized communities. (See Map: Germany.) Most of the Jews made their living in commerce and transportation and in the liberal professions; in the large cities, one-third or even more of the lawyers and doctors were Jews; they also played a prominent role in the press, in literature, in the theater, and in other forms of entertainment. In general, the Jews belonged to the middle class and were well off. Although many had lost their savings in the inflation, they recovered from the effects of this crisis, and when the Nazis came to power, there was again a great deal of capital in the hands of individual Jews and the Jewish communities. The absorption of Jews into all spheres of German life was accompanied by record numbers of mixed marriages, and an increasing number of Jews formally "dissociated" themselves from the community.

communal organization

Between the two World Wars, the Jewish communities presented a model of organization. The Weimar Constitution retained official recognition of the Jewish communities as entities recognized by public law and their right to collect dues. In general, a Jewish community had a representative body, elected by the community members, and an executive committee, elected in turn by the representative body and consisting of three to seven members. A point under dispute was the voting rights of Jews of foreign nationality (the Ostjuden), who in some communities amounted to a substantial proportion of the total membership. Although the "foreigners" had equal rights to the religious and social services provided by the community, in some places they had no equal right to vote, or were given that right only after long years of local residence. The fiercest fights for their voting rights were in Saxony, where East European Jews constituted the majority and German Jews insisted on keeping control over the communities by creating separate ballots for the two groups. By the end of the Weimar Republic, however, most communities had given equal voting rights to non-German citizens and women. The longstanding domination of the communities by the Liberals was shattered in a few communities, most notably in Berlin, where in 1926 a coalition of Zionist, Orthodox, and East European Jews received a majority of the votes. In 1930, the Liberals were voted back in. In the various states of which the Reich was made up, there existed "state unions" of Jewish communities. For a long time the need was felt for a national union of Jewish communities, but there were differences of opinion as to the form this should take; some thought that it should be a union of individual communities, others preferred a national union of the state unions, while a third proposal called for a kind of Jewish parliament, elected by direct democratic vote (the last plan was supported by the Zionists). By the time a national union was finally established, shortly before Hitler came to power, the organizational form of the communities, and the tasks they faced, were about to undergo a radical change. Apart from the religious and cultural tasks they performed, the community organizations were most active in social welfare; this was true of the period preceding 1933, and became even more important after that turning point. In 1917 a central welfare bureau for German Jewry was set up, the *Zentralwohlfahrtstelle, whose membership consisted of the communities as well as of many private institutions, trusts, and societies. The bureau cooperated with the main non-Jewish welfare agencies in the country, as well as with the American Jewish *Joint Distribution Committee, and published its own monthly. It supervised hospitals, clinics, counseling centers, bureaus, and a variety of other public institutions, and had some 2,000 welfare agencies affiliated with it. In the large communities expenditure on welfare amounted to as much as 30% of the total budget. Agencies concerned with youth, and with immigrants passing through Germany on their way overseas, also played an important role. In addition to the organizations based on the communities, there were also a large number of other societies, as well as cultural and scientific institutions. Jewish life in general was marked by the struggle between Jewish nationalism and various degrees of assimilation. Zionism succeeded in revolutionizing the life of the communities, and the councils, in addition to "notables," now also contained democratically elected members who represented national-Jewish interests.

The following were the main organizations of German Jewry in the period: Centralverein (cv) deutscher Staatsbuerger juedischen Glaubens ("Central Organization of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith"); Zionistische Vereinigung fuer Deutschland (zvfd; "Zionist Organization of Germany"); Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden ("Aid Society of German Jews"); the religious organizations – Agudat Israel, Ahdut, *Vereinigung fuer das liberale Judentum; *B'nai B'rith; *Verband national-deutscher Juden ("Union of Jews of German Nationality"); *Reichsbund juedischer Frontsoldaten ("Reich Association of Jewish War Veterans"); the various rabbinical associations, and associations of teachers and cantors; etc. An important role in the cultural life of German Jewry was played by the academic organizations: *Kartell-Convent (kc) deutscher Studenten juedischen Glaubens ("National Fraternity of German Students of the Jewish Faith"), affiliated to the Centralverein; Bund juedischer Akademiker (bja, an association of Orthodox academies); Kartell juedischer Verbindungen, the Zionist student organization. A substantial number of Jewish youth in Germany were members of Jewish youth movements. Some of the youth organizations were sponsored by the Centralverein, and others by the Orthodox; a third type were the Zionist youth organizations. The latter encouraged pioneer settlement in Ereẓ Israel, maintained training centers, and supplied a small but steady flow of immigrants. The Centralverein was the largest and most important organization, which published its own newspaper. It advocated a synthesis of Judaism and "Germanism," emphasized defense of Jewish civil rights, and regarded German Jewry as an integral part of the German people. Other periodicals were Der *Israelit (published by Agudat Israel); Juedisch-liberale Zeitung; Der Schild (published by the veterans' organization); Der *Jude, a Zionist monthly, edited by Martin *Buber; and Der Morgen, a monthly published by the Centralverein. The official organ of the Zionist movement, *Juedische Rundschau, a weekly (which in its last years appeared twice a week), eventually became the leading Jewish paper published in Germany.

Despite differences of outlook, there was close cooperation between the various organizations. An outstanding example was the establishment of the *Keren Hayesod in Germany in 1922 which was based on cooperation between Zionists and non-Zionists, and served as a preliminary stage to the enlarged *Jewish Agency (1929). The Zionist Organization included Zionist party organizations (Mizrachi, *Poalei-Zion, *Hapo'el ha-Ẓair-Hitaḥdut, etc.).

cultural and religious life

The "Jewish Renaissance," a term coined by Martin Buber in 1900, culminated in the Weimar Republic. This brief period witnessed the creation of a modern Jewish adult education system, literary and artistic creations in the German language, the rise of a Jewish youth movement, and the revival of Jewish schools. While only a minority of German Jews was active in the various forms of Jewish cultural creativity, a counter-movement to the still continuing tendency of assimilation could now be observed. In 1920 Franz *Rosenzweig established the Freies Juedisches Lehrhaus ("Free Institute of Jewish Learning") in Frankfurt, which in its heyday attracted over 1,000 adult students who often were assimilated Jews like Rosenzweig himself. Other cultural institutions were the Juedische Volkshochschule ("Jewish College of Adult Education") in most larger cities; the Toynbee Halls, which also served as centers of social work; and the short-lived Juedisches Volksheim ("Jewish Social Center") established in Berlin in 1916. There were Jewish elementary schools in several communities and Jewish teachers' seminaries in Wuerzburg and Cologne. New Jewish elementary and secondary schools, originally maintained by Orthodox Jews only but in later years also supported by the Zionists and even parts of the Liberal Jews, were established, some in cities which for decades had seen no Jewish schools. Both the renewed interest in Jewish culture and increasing antisemitism were behind this increase. All religious and political streams of German Jewry founded their own youth organizations. In a few cities, Jewish museums were established, and the Berlin Jewish Museum was opened in its new home only a few weeks after Hitler came to power. Jewish cultural societies, such as the Soncino Bibliophile Society, were established, Jewish music from all corners of the world enjoyed respectable audiences, and Jewish sports societies were now established even beyond the Zionist spectrum. Most larger communities started their own newspapers, some of them developing into respectable cultural journals.

After World War i, when many Hebrew writers and publishers fled from Russia and took refuge in Germany, the country became a center of Hebrew publishing and Hebrew literature. Some of the greatest Hebrew poets and writers became residents of Germany, and Hebrew and Yiddish publishing houses were established. This was in addition to the many books published in German, on Judaism, Zionism, and Jewish studies. In Berlin and other cities, the Zionist Organization founded schools for the study of modern Hebrew by adults and the youth.

As the economic and political crisis deepened in Germany during the 1920s, a religious revival could be observed in all denominations. Judaism was affected by it as well, as some Jews found refuge in synagogues and study circles. The most prolific Liberal Jewish thinker was Leo *Baeck, who emerged as German Jewry's spiritual leader already in the 1920s. He was careful to keep the balance between radical Reform and Orthodoxy, and thus found a middle ground of moderate Liberal Judaism. It may be symptomatic of the changing times that the new edition of his main prewar work, Essence of Judaism, appeared in a revised form in 1922 which gave more weight to mystical and non-rational thought. His younger colleague, Max Wiener, developed the critique of German Jewry's belief in Enlightenment further in his Judaism in the Time of Emancipation (1933). Baeck's predecessor as president of the General Rabbinical Association of Germany, the Frankfurt rabbi Anton Nehemias Nobel, reintegrated mystical elements in contemporary Orthodox Jewish thought. Another tendency which became gradually apparent was the rise of women's rights in the synagogue and beyond. While they had fought successfully for their voting rights in most communities, the first synagogue with mixed seating was opened in Berlin in 1929, and in another smaller synagogue service in Berlin a havurah-style egalitarian minyan was adopted around the same time. Women were among the students of the Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums, and in 1935 the first woman rabbi, Regine Jonas, was ordained, although she never served a congregation. Due to the financial strains only a few new synagogues were built, most notably the ones in Plauen (1930) and Hamburg (1931) in the Bauhaus style.

[Robert Weltsch]


As a result of the Nazi ascent to power legally through the appointment of Adolf Hitler as chancellor on Jan. 30, 1933, the entire existing structure of Jewish life in Germany collapsed. Personal lives, professional careers, individual freedom, and the very confidence that Germany was their home were thrown into disarray for Jews living in Germany. In response, German Jewry underwent a spiritual awakening and achieved a peak of vitality in Jewish communal life. In the national-socialist racist state, the Jews, branded as an "alien race," were automatically excluded by law from general life. Anti-Jewish measures gradually reduced the Jews to isolation and seclusion; the majority of the Jews were, however, unable unreservedly to sever the ties that had integrated them into German life. The racist decree that "no Jew could be a German" gravely affected the premise for the flourishing life of German Jewry, since the vast majority had considered themselves Germans and were genuinely assimilated in German culture. German was their language, German literature their literature, and German philosophy and values their values.

On April 1, 1933, the first large-scale anti-Jewish demonstration took place, in the form of a boycott of all Jewish-owned shops and offices of Jewish professionals. The yellow *badge was posted on Jewish business concerns and many residences; windows and doors were smeared with antisemitic and indecent cartoons; and sa (storm troop) guards ensured the observance of the boycott. The boycott was abandoned two days later due to sharp reaction from abroad and for fear of potential damage to the economy of the country. Some Germans made it a point of honor to call upon Jewish friends and to patronize Jewish shops. Most were frightened and just stayed away. This demonstration, far from being "a spontaneous eruption of the people's wrath," was organized by the Nazi Party on government orders. In the beginning there were even some signs of resistance among the German public to actions of this sort, until eventually the Nazi Party succeeded in suppressing all opposing political trends and concentrated absolute power in its own hands (see also *ss). This was achieved soon after the Nazi takeover, initiated by a wave of arrests of political opponents, for whose internment concentration *camps were set up. The first victims were political opponents of the regime, or people with whom it had personal accounts to settle, or whom it sought to deprive of their property. On April 7, 1933, the term Nichtarier ("non-Aryan") was adopted as legal designation. Jews were expelled from the civil service, including bureaucrats, judges, physicians, and professors. This facilitated the removal, step by step, of the Jews from various professions. The first to suffer were lawyers, judges, public officials, artists, newspapermen, and doctors. (At the beginning, veterans of World War i were not included in the ban, thus dividing the Jewish community.) The Jews were methodically pushed out of their remaining employment.

The adoption of the *Nuremberg Laws on Sept. 15, 1935, marked a new phase. It provided a precise definition of the "Jew" by origin, religion, and family ties; deprived the Jews of their status as citizens of the Reich; and reduced them to "subjects of the state." Intermarriage was prohibited while special provisions were made to deal with already-existing mixed marriages. Sexual intercourse between Jews and non-Jews was branded as Rassenschande ("defiling of the race") liable to severe punishment. In order to stigmatize the Jews further and brand them as a licentious people, the employment of "Aryan" maids under the age of 45 in their households was also forbidden. From time to time, addenda were made to the Nuremberg Laws, further reducing the Jews' status, until July 1, 1943, when the 13th such order was promulgated, declaring Germany judenrein ("clean of Jews"). Several Nazi leaders declared that with the adoption of the Nuremberg Laws the "regulation of the Jewish problem" was completed, and that the government had no intention of ousting the Jews from the economic positions they still held. Antisemitic slogans and graffiti were removed for the 1936 Olympics, and some Jews felt that they had weathered the worst. The pessimists had emigrated or pursued plans to emigrate and the optimists continued to believe that things would get better; the real Germany they knew would soon be manifest. In the period 1935–37, despite all the destructive measures, a large amount of capital still remained in Jewish hands and some Jews continued to run profit-making enterprises. To an extent, the Jews also benefited from the economic prosperity brought about by rearmament. Confiscation of Jewish capital, or enforced sale of Jewish enterprises (Arianisierung) did, however, become more and more frequent, along with arrests and other anti-Jewish measures.

The decisive turning point in Nazi policy against the Jews came in March 1938, when Austria was annexed to the Reich. The anti-Jewish excesses that took place in Austria, especially in *Vienna, were far worse than any that had occurred thus far in Germany, and the general population's part in them was much greater. Little could one see that the German expansion into other countries would make the German policy of cleansing the country of Jews impossible. With each expansion more Jews came under German domination. The Jews in the Sudetenland were to undergo similar persecution when the Nazis annexed it on the basis of the October 1938 Munich Conference. The gravest incident in this stage in the entire area of "Greater Germany" occurred on Nov. 9, 1938 (see *Kristallnacht). The pretext for this action was the assassination of a member of the German Embassy in Paris by a Jew, Herschel *Grynszpan. A collective fine of one billion marks was also imposed upon the Jews, who, unlike foreign Jews or Aryans, could not collect insurance to repair their property. They were thus victimized by their loss, by their inability to collect insurance, and by the collective fine imposed on the community. These measures put the Jews of Germany in jeopardy and all subsequent measures only further aggravated their situation, culminating in 1941 with the commencement of systematic deportations to extermination camps.

The April 1, 1933, anti-Jewish demonstration filled many with consternation, but only a few Jews were brought to the brink of despair (resulting in some cases in suicide). In the initial stage, both Jews and some non-Jews protested. The Jews sought to remind the Germans of the contributions they had made to Germany's cultural and economic life, of their loyalty to the country, and of the medals they had earned on the field of battle. They soon learned that their efforts were futile. Gradually, the majority of the Jews understood that their fate was bound up with the Jewish people. Their only defenders were the Jews throughout the world who protested against the ill-treatment to which their brethren in Germany were being exposed. Emigration from Germany was their only hope but this too they could not achieve without the aid of international Jewish bodies. Judaism was also their only source of moral comfort. And Jewish institutions within Germany were the one place they were safe from persecution, at least for a while. For some, persecution had an unintended consequence. Instead of internalizing the hatred and loathing they experienced, it aroused in them a sense of pride in being a Jew, which gave them the moral strength to endure.

German Jewry now began to cooperate as a single body because external events erased the differences that had previously divided the assimilationists and those Jews who identified themselves with the Jewish culture and people. The Nazis did not discriminate between pious and secular Jews, between Zionists and assimilated Jews – all were uniformly detested; all were subject to Nazi venom. The anti-Jewish policies were directed against the assimilationist Jews as well, forcing them to recognize that they too were members of the Jewish people. The Nazi doctrine propounded that "blood" determined everything, so even converts and persons of mixed parentage (mischlinge) were labeled Jews. Among the latter were persons who for two or three generations had had no spiritual tie with Judaism. Of these "non-Aryan" Christians, or persons not adhering to any religion, only a few found their way back to active Jewish life. Some German churches acquiesced to or enthusiastically supported German racism even when it violated Christian teaching that one who converted to Christianity was a Christian. Only the Confessing Church remained faithful, protesting on behalf of those who had converted. Jews now closed ranks, irrespective of the divergent views they had held in the past. Many who had played important roles in German life, but had been remote from Jewish activities, were now eager and ready to accept Jewish public activity. At first, the existing Jewish organizations united under the Zentralausschuss fuer Hilfe und Aufbau ("Central Committee for Aid and Construction"), providing welfare and emigration services. This was followed by the creation of the *Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland ("Reich Representation of the Jews in Germany") headed by Rabbi Leo *Baeck. (The use of the term "Jews in Germany" was imposed when the Nazis prohibited the term "German Jews.")

From the outset, one of the principal tasks confronting the Reichsvertretung was to organize emigration, which had taken various forms. (See Table: Emigration – Jews from Germany.) There was first of all the spontaneous flight to adjacent countries. In 1933, this was comparatively easy, for the Jews bore German passports which permitted entry to most European countries without visas. Regulations on removal of currency from Germany were not that strict, and a uniform regulation had not as yet been reached. In the course of time, however, the countries of reception placed obstacles in the way of the refugees from Germany, especially by refusing them work permits. Thus, the Swiss government refused such permits to all foreign nationals. In the fall of 1938 it requested that the German government stamp all Jewish passports with the letter J so that non-Jewish Germans could be

Country of receptionNo. of German immigrants
Great Britain40,000
South Africa5,500
Other European countries25,000
Other South American countries20,000
Far Eastern countries15,000

admitted to Switzerland but Jews could be excluded. Only in a few instances were the emigrants able to maintain themselves on the funds they had brought with them. Emigration was also directed to overseas countries, mainly to the United States, but also to South America, Canada, and Australia. The consulates of these countries were thronged, but the existing regulations were not slackened to help the persecuted Jews. Except for Britain in 1938–39, no entry visas were issued outside the scope of existing immigration laws. The third and principal form of emigration was to Palestine. This was more than a simple rescue operation, for it had ideological overtones, reinforced by the feeling of attachment to the "Jewish National Home," while emigration to other countries was dictated by utilitarian reasons only. Most of the Zionists who left Germany made their way to Palestine. A systematic campaign on behalf of aliyah was conducted, and as the dangers grew, an immigration certificate to Palestine became a valuable document, coveted also by non-Zionists.

According to estimates of the League of Nations *High Commissioner for Refugees, 329,000 Jews fled from the Nazis in the period 1933–39, of whom 315,000 left Germany itself. In June 1933 there were 503,000 Jews by religion in Germany (including the Saar Region, incorporated in Germany in 1935), while in the first six years of the Nazi regime, the number of Jews was reduced by 289,000, leaving 214,000 Jews in May 1939. According to the census, there were 234,000 Jews (as defined by the Nuremberg Laws) in Germany in 1939, a reduction of 330,000 since 1925.

Efforts were also made to bring about a change in the occupational structure of the Jews, in order to prepare them for emigration. A large part of the Jewish students had been expelled from their German schools and universities and were now taught new trades on farms or in vocational and agricultural schools. Portable skills were essential to success in other countries. Schools to teach Hebrew, English, Spanish, and other languages were also established to prepare Jews for future emigration. Aliyah to Palestine, and hakhsharah, preparation for aliyah, were organized by the Zionist *Palestine Office (Palaestina-Amt), which greatly expanded in this period. The Palestine Office acted in an advisory capacity and was in charge of the transfer of capital through the *Ha'avara Company, which, with the approval of the authorities, succeeded in removing Jewish capital from Germany in the form of exports to Palestine, valued at about $16,200,000. Emigrants to the United States were rendered aid primarily by the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden and the American Jewish *Joint Distribution Committee. For the Jews in Germany the last few years preceding the war were marked by a desperate race to discover possible emigration outlets. The number of outlets, however, was continually reduced and, when the last exit to safety was finally closed, there was still a sizable Jewish community left in Germany.

In the period 1933–38, the Jews of Germany stepped up in considerable measure their own public and cultural life. They were now called upon to provide not only for their strictly "Jewish" needs, but also to engage in activities of a general nature, especially in education and culture. The Jewish community had to set up its own elementary and high schools for Jewish children, who had been expelled from the public schools. The teaching staff for these new schools consisted of the Jewish teachers who had been dismissed from the German school system. The "Center for Jewish Adult Education," an institution created by Martin Buber under the auspices of the Reichsvertretung, included among its tasks the training of these teachers for their duties in Jewish schools. In general, the educational and cultural activities of the Reichsvertretung may be regarded as the beginning of a Jewish moral resistance movement.

Among the Zionist youth movements, the largest was Ha-Bonim, No'ar Ḥaluẓi, which was founded in 1933 and based on a merger of Kadimah and Berit Olim. Makkabbi Hazair was a General Zionist youth movement, while the Werkleute were absorbed by Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir. After 1928, religious youth was organized in the Berit Ḥaluẓim Datiyyim. He-Ḥalutz, the largest organization preparing its members for settlement in Ereẓ Israel, established hakhsharot – agricultural training centers – with the support of the Reichsvertretung. Non-Zionist youth was organized in the Deutsch-juedische Jugend and Vortrupp societies. The Zionist Organization of Germany, which grew tremendously in strength, gained half of the seats in the community council and the national organizations in 1935.

The Jewish press played a great role in strengthening the spirit of German Jews. The cv Zeitung gained a circulation of 40,000 and a similar number subscribed to the Juedische Rundschau. (A front-page article of the Rundschau, published under the title, Tragt ihn mit Stolz, den gelben Fleck ("Wear it proudly, the yellow badge"), electrified the Jews with its call for courage in the face of adversity.) The pro-Zionist Israelitisches Familienblatt also jumped to a circulation of 35,000.

In art and literature a similar development took place. Jewish artists and writers who had not succeeded in immediately leaving Germany were forced to restrict their work to the realm of Judaism; in many instances this was a "return to Judaism" in name only, but in others it was accompanied by a profound spiritual change. The *Juedischer Kulturbund was created to organize Jewish cultural life. Jewish newspapers enlarged their scope, Jewish publishing houses increased their activities, and books on Jewish subjects, poetry, history, and essays gained a wide distribution. Like their cultural activities, the publishing activities of Jews were under the official supervision of the Juden-Referat, a separate body established within the framework of Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda. From time to time certain publications were prohibited and newspaper editions were confiscated. The Zionist organ, Juedische Rundschau, was closed down and reopened on numerous occasions. In the course of time, the officials of the Juden-Referat came to show personal interest in the continued functioning of Jewish cultural life. The pogroms of Nov. 9–10, 1938, however, put an end to this situation, and the ensuing months, up to the outbreak of the war, were marked by general alarm among the Jews, cessation of all social activities, mass emigration, and Gestapo persecution of the remaining Jews.

[Robert Weltsch /

Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]

World War ii

In the course of the war, when German rule was extended over large areas, Jews were sent to, or transferred from, Germany and other European countries. Many German Jews were put to death in Germany itself, along with foreign Jews interned there. In the period 1933–39, the communal and occupational life of German Jewry had undergone a radical change. After expulsion from commercial life and the professions, many Jews switched over to manual labor and agriculture. Although in 1933, 48.12% of German Jews had steady employment, by 1939 this figure had been reduced to 15.6% (Jews "by faith"). Of breadwinners in 1939 who no longer had any regular employment, over 40% were able to live off their capital and property, while others had some income from other sources and insurance. By 1939, thousands of Jews were already imprisoned in concentration camps. The Nazis considered the transfer of German Jews to special reservations in German-occupied territory of Poland or Russia or even the remote island of *Madagascar. But over time and with the capture of more and more Jews in the occupied territories, these plans, even if desired, were simply not feasible. At the beginning of 1942, when the physical destruction of Jews was already in full swing, these plans were finally abandoned. A law passed on July 4, 1939, transformed the Reichsvertretung into the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland ("Reich Union of Jews in Germany"), and charged the new organization with promoting Jewish emigration, running the Jewish schools, and social welfare. Leo Baeck remained head of the new organization. The work of the Reichsvereinigung was defined by law, and subject to orders from the minister of the interior. The Nazis regarded it as an instrument which could be maneuvered to rid the country of all its Jews in the shortest possible time. In May 1939, there were still 214,000 Jews left, of whom 90% lived in 200 cities and the rest in 1,800 different places without an organized Jewish community. There were an additional 20,000 persons who had been classified as Jews under the Nuremberg Laws.

The outbreak of the war (Sept. 1, 1939) did not bring about any change in the legal status of the Jews. Until November 1941, i.e., at a time when the mass killing of Jews in Eastern Europe, which had begun as the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, some still succeeded in leaving Germany. German Jews were admitted to some neutral countries, others were able to escape across the Atlantic. In fact they reached every corner of the globe, including *Shanghai. Until June 20, 1940, Jews who had some means at their disposal were able to reach Palestine by way of the Italian ports, and until Nov. 11, 1942, they could go to *Lisbon and *Casablanca by way of unoccupied France. On May 1, 1941, there were 169,000 Jews in Germany, and by Oct. 1, 1941, 164,000. In the period that had elapsed since May 1939 their number had therefore been reduced by some 50,000 to 70,000. A substantial number of these had succeeded in leaving Germany, although some of them only moved to countries which soon came under German occupation. About 8,000 Jews were deported by the Nazis, to make room for Germans who were repatriated after the outbreak of war. These Jews were sent in the first shipment to the *Lublin district, and later to unoccupied France. Many Jews were put into the existing concentration camps, or into newly established ones. The mortality rate among the Jews also rose to unprecedented heights.

Some time in 1941, Hitler issued his verbal order for the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question." On Sept. 1, 1941, the Jews were ordered to wear the yellow badge (Judenstern, or "Jewish star"). In mid-October 1941, their mass "transfer" ("Evakuierungen" or "Abwanderungen") to ghettos in Eastern Europe (*Lodz, *Minsk, *Riga, *Kovno) and to concentration and forced labor camps was begun, under Adolf *Eichmann's supervision. By the end of the year, 30,000 Jews had been thus "transferred." In the period from October 1942 to March 1943, Jews from Germany were "transferred" to *Auschwitz and other killing centers, at first by way of concentration camps and, later, directly. Many synagogues were turned into collection points for those about to be deported. It was in this period that the rate of suicide among the Jews took a sudden rise. The property of the "transferred" Jews, or of those who had committed suicide, was taken over by the state, as property of "enemies of the people and the country." So too, the property of Jews who left Germany; no distinctions were made between voluntary departures and forced deportation. Jewish activities were carried on within the framework of the Reichsvereinigung, which in accordance with the law had absorbed all the 1,500 organizations and institutions and the 1,600 religious communal bodies which had existed in Germany in 1939. The last to be absorbed, in January 1943, was the Berlin Community. When emigration ceased, the work of the Reichsvereinigung was restricted to education and social welfare. It supported elementary schools, several high schools and colleges, vocational and agricultural training courses, and language courses, as well as the famous Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums. In July 1942 all Jewish educational institutions were closed down. The Reichsvereinigung also supported Jewish hospitals, children's homes, and homes for the aged. It was forced to assist the Nazis in gathering the Jews who had been earmarked for "transfer." The Reichsvereinigung derived its income from contributions, membership dues, and special taxes imposed on emigrants. In July 1943 the activities of the Reichsvereinigung came to an end. By then, most of its officials, as well as most of those whom it had cared for, had been "transferred" to their deaths, or put into prison. The assets of the Reichsvereinigung (about 170 million marks) were confiscated by the Nazis. A new national body was created, headed by Walter Lustig, at the Jewish hospital in Berlin.

In the "privileged" model concentration camp/ghetto which was known as the *Theresienstadt ghetto, of the 144,000 Jews interned, 42,103 were from Germany. In January 1943, Leo Baeck was interned there. This ghetto allowed the continuation of Jewish life in some measure. But by the end of the war, only 5,639 German survivors were left in the ghetto. Of those 144,000 Jews deported to Theresienstadt, 33,000 died there, while 88,000 were again deported to Auschwitz. Of 15,000 children, only some 100 survived.

By the end of 1942 the number of Jews in Germany had been reduced to 51,000, and by the beginning of April the following year to 32,000. On May 19, 1943, Germany was declared judenrein. On Sept. 1, 1944, there were still 14,574 Jews in Germany who were not imprisoned. These were, for the most part (97.8%), the spouses of non-Jews, or "half-Jews," who had been defined as Jews by the Nuremberg Laws. When the tide of battle turned against Germany and concentration and death camps in the East were about to be overrun by Soviet troops, many more Jews were sent to Germany either as slave laborers or on death marches; Germany, which had first tried to be rid of the Jews, was now forced to reabsorb them as they were needed as workers or they were more dangerous to Germany if captured by the Soviets as living witnesses. In January 1945, there were in concentration and forced labor camps in Germany hundreds of thousands of Jews from various European countries. That number grew in the ensuing months until liberation as Jews were forcibly marched back into Germany.

The number of Jews who remained free in Germany – openly or underground – has been estimated at 19,000, and those who returned from the concentration camps after the war (including Theresienstadt) at 8,000. Late (January 1942) and doubtful figures provided by the Nazis state that from the beginning of Nazi rule 360,000 Jews had emigrated from Germany. About 160,000 to 180,000 German Jews are estimated to have been murdered by the Nazis in Germany, or to have died as a result of persecution.

[Jacob S. Levinger /

Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]

Early Postwar Period

When the Nazi regime in Germany ended, the general assumption was – in the words of Leo Baeck – that the Holocaust had terminated the thousand-year history of German Jewry and that Jews would not resettle in the country where the massacre of European Jewry had been conceived. This forecast did prove completely accurate. Jews were again living in Germany and they had rebuilt their communal and social organizations; but both numerically and culturally they constituted a faint shadow of the Jewish population of the country at the time of Hitler's rise to power. Although the Jews formed a very diversified group, their relative influence in all spheres of life was negligible. After a period of consolidation the Jews of Germany consisted of three main groups: the remnants of German Jewry who had survived the war in Germany; *Displaced Persons (dps) who took temporary refuge in Germany after the war, especially in the American Zone; and Jews who returned to Germany or settled there after the war. Those who survived the persecutions and the war in Germany itself had, on the whole, only a tenuous attachment to Judaism. Some had been baptized, and the majority had entered mixed marriages (surviving the Holocaust only with the help of their "Aryan" relatives) and had raised their children as Christians. Among them were also several hundred women who had married Jews, and converted to Judaism. The average age of this group was over 50. The number of Jews in Germany grew in the immediate postwar period, when several thousand German Jews who had survived the concentration camps (especially Theresienstadt) and did not go into dp camps returned to Germany. Soon after, a few thousand were able to immigrate to the United States and several hundred went to other countries. Of those who remained, only a part (estimated by H. Maor between 6,000 and 8,000) joined the reestablished Jewish communities.

The dps who arrived in Germany after the war were a "community in transit" and did not regard themselves as a part of German Jewry. At the end of 1946, there was a record number of 160,000 Jewish dps in Germany; the total number of Jewish dps who spent some time in the country is estimated at over 200,000. Most of them were in the American Zone, where they neither joined the communities nor had much contact with German Jews. The dps formed their own organization, She'erit ha-Peletah (The Saved Remnant), which had local regional and central committees. In the British Zone (northwest Germany), however, it was the reestablished communities that joined the She'erit ha-Peletah, which had its headquarters at *Bergen-Belsen. In time the refugees, especially those who lived outside the dp camps in the urban dp assembly centers, established contacts with members of the Jewish communities. When the great stream of aliyah and emigration of the She'erit ha-Peletah came to an end in the early 1950s, 12,000 former dps were left in Germany. There were in 1960, according to Maor, about 6,000 former dps in Germany who had become members of the Jewish communities. They represented a sizable portion of the total membership

Baden1,200Lower Saxony600
West Berlin5,300North-Rhine2,700

of some of the communities, e.g., 80% in Munich and 40% in Frankfurt. No precise data are available on the remaining 6,000. Some may have emigrated, others may be listed as returnees, and still others may have severed all links with the organized Jewish community.

From the end of the war to the beginning of the 1960s, about 6,000 German Jews returned to Germany and some 2,000 Jews from other countries settled there. During the rest of the 1960s, Germany received a few hundred more Jewish immigrants, in addition to several thousand returnees. For the most part, these were people who had not adjusted in the countries to which they had emigrated (including Israel). Others hoped that their presence in Germany would speed up the restitution of their property, or the indemnification payments due to them (see *Restitution and Compensation). Still others were simply attracted to Germany by the prevailing economic prosperity. Some prominent people, mostly artists and menof-letters, returned to Germany – often to the East – but as a rule they did not join the Jewish communities. In general, the former dps and the returnees were the more active groups, having much closer ties with Judaism than the group of survivors who never left the country.

reestablishment of jewish communities

The reestablishment of Jewish communities began shortly after the war, but in the early stages the means at their disposal were quite limited. Various organizations were operating in Germany to care for the victims of Nazism, and included the Jews in their activities. Among these were the organizations of Nazi victims and the Bavarian Red Cross. In Bavaria, the ministry of the interior established a State Commissariat for the care of people who had been persecuted on the basis of race, religion, or political convictions. (The first commissioner, appointed in the fall of 1945, was a non-Jewish Social Democrat; in 1946 a leading Jew, Philip Auerbach, was appointed to this post.) A bureau of the same kind was also established in Hessen. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee helped the communities establish themselves, and gradually they were able to assume the main burden of the religious and social services required by their members. The Berlin Jewish community at this time included the four zones of the city. In June 1947 a coordinating committee of Jewish communities in Germany, covering all the zones of occupation, was formed. When the aliyah and emigration of the dps came to an end, the communities grew in importance. It was at this time that the German Federal Republic (West) and the German Democratic Republic (East) were established. The interest of the newly founded government of West Germany in strengthening the Jewish communities was shared by the occupation authorities, especially in the American Zone (headed by High Commissioner John J. McCloy). On July 17, 1950, a Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland ("Central Council of Jews in Germany") was set up with headquarters at Duesseldorf. The formation of the council was encouraged by the authorities, and it became the supreme organ of the Jewish communities in West Germany, achieving that status first in fact and later in law.

While in the immediate postwar years the Jews in Germany had insisted that their stay in the "accursed land" was temporary and that they would soon leave it, by the early 1950s voices began to call for the building of bridges between the Jewish and German peoples. One community leader declared that the Jewish-sponsored idea of dissolving the Jewish communities in Germany should be abandoned, and a rabbi who had returned to Germany even stated that the Jews remaining in the country were charged with reminding the German people of their guilt and their obligation to atone. Such ideas were supported by the government of West Germany and especially by Chancellor Konrad *Adenauer, who felt that in addition to the reparations agreement with Israel, the existence of a Jewish community in Germany and good relations between that community and the German people would be important contributions to the moral and political rehabilitation of Germany in the eyes of the world. To help bring about a reconciliation with the Jewish people, various German organizations and movements, such as the Aktion Suehnezeichen ("Operation Atonement") led by the Protestant theologian Helmut Gollwitzer, the Society for Christian-Jewish Understanding, the Peace With Israel movement headed by Erich Lueth, and others, were formed.

World Jewish organizations, especially the Zionist movement, disapproved of Jewish integration into German life. They regarded it as morally wrong for Jews to be permanently resident in Germany and tried to persuade them to leave the country. When, however, the reparations agreement was signed between the State of Israel, the *Conference on Jewish Material Claims, and the Federal Republic in September 1952, the psychological and political basis for ostracizing the Jews of Germany no longer existed. The Zentralrat became a member of the Claims Conference, and in 1954 the Zionist Executive approved the reestablishment of the Zionist Organization of Germany. (This is not to be confused with the Zionist Organization of the She'erit ha-Peletah, which was disbanded in 1951 as were all other institutions of the She'erit Ha-Peletah.) The Zentralrat also became affiliated with the *World Jewish Congress. Following the reparations agreement and the legislation for indemnification and the restitution of property, the federal government of West Germany and governments of the Laender adopted a liberal policy toward the restitution of property to the communities and provided them with regular subsidies for their needs. As a result, the Jewish communities of Germany became among the wealthiest in the world. This process of consolidation was not without its upheavals, struggles, and public scandals, which came before the German courts. Among those sentenced to imprisonment were Aaron Ohrenstein, the rabbi of Munich, and Philip Auerbach, who committed suicide in prison in 1952. There were also court proceedings contesting the legality of several community councils.

Antisemitism continued to exist in the country, perhaps exacerbated by the problem of bringing Nazi criminals to justice and the demand for the exclusion of Nazis from public office and government service. In fact, Neo-Nazi movements sprang up, Jewish cemeteries were desecrated, swastikas were daubed on walls, and antisemitic propaganda was disseminated. On the other hand, there were signs of a genuine change of heart: German youth was educated toward democracy, Jewish literature and literature on Jews appeared on the bookstands, there were exhibitions on Jewish themes, etc. The authorities assisted the communities in the construction of new synagogues and undertook the reconstruction of synagogues of historical value in places where there was no Jewish community (such as the medieval synagogue in Worms).

In October 1967, the number of Jews registered with the Jewish communities in West Germany, including West Berlin, was 26,226 (this includes 1,300 Jews living in Frankfurt who were not members of the community but registered as Jews in the census). According to the figures for Oct. 1, 1966, the largest communities were in West Berlin (5,991 members), Frankfurt (4,168), Munich (3,345), Duesseldorf (1,579), Hamburg (1,500), and Cologne (1,304). (See Map: Germany.) Because of the high average age, the demographic composition of German Jewry was highly abnormal. The death rate greatly exceeded the birth rate, e.g., in 1963–64 there were 482 deaths and only 69 births. In spite of the wide gulf between Jews and Germans, the rate of intermarriage is among the highest in the world. In the period 1951–58, there were 679 marriages in which both partners were Jewish, as against 2,009 mixed marriages; 72.5% of the Jewish men and 23.6% of the Jewish women who married chose non-Jewish partners. (For the period 1901–30 the respective figures were 19.6% for men and 12.2% for women.)

Several aged rabbis returned to Germany, and a few came there from other countries, e.g., the United States, Israel, and Britain, to serve for a limited period. There was a serious scarcity of teachers, religious articles, and community workers. The work of the communities was generally in the hands of a salaried staff. Jewish schools were established in Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Duesseldorf, and Hamburg, while elsewhere the community provided religious instruction during after-school hours. There were social welfare departments in the communities and a central welfare office (Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle) in Frankfurt. Many communities maintained homes for the aged and summer camps for children. German-language Jewish weeklies were published in Duesseldorf and Munich, and a Yiddish newspaper in Munich until 1974. The Juedischer Verlag (Jewish Publishing Co.) in Berlin was reestablished, and another publishing house, Ner Tamid, was opened. The Zionist Organization had branches in most of the communities, as did Jewish women's organizations and youth movements. In most places there were local committees of the *Keren Hayesod and the *Jewish National Fund, and in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich there were B'nai B'rith Lodges. An outstanding contribution to the postwar rehabilitation of Jews in Germany was made by Karl Marx (1897–1966), who returned to Germany in 1945, joined the Zionist movement, and founded the Allgemeine Wochenzeitung des Judentums ("General Jewish Weekly") in Duesseldorf. He regarded as his task the "building of a bridge" between the Jewish people and Israel, on the one hand, and Germany, on the other. He had close connections with the first president of the Federal Republic, Theodor Heuss, with Chancellor Adenauer, and with Social Democratic leaders and tried to serve as a link between them and the leaders of Israel and world Jewry. A number of Jews assumed important public offices. Among them were Paul Hertz, a Social Democratic senator in Berlin; Herbert A. *Weichmann, President of the Bundesrat and mayor of Hamburg; Joseph Neuberger (1902–1977), the minister of justice in North Rhine-Westphalia (who returned to Germany from Israel); and Ludwig Rosenberg, chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions. Several scholars and prominent artists, including the actors Ernst *Deutsch and Fritz *Kortner, also returned to Germany.

Despite their manifold activities, the Jewish communities in Germany rested on weak foundations because of their abnormal demographic structure, the inadequacy of Jewish education, and the abyss that continued to exist between the Jews and German society. The replacement of the expression Deutsche Juden ("German Jews") by the term Juden in Deutschland ("Jews in Germany") may be taken as an indication of the strangeness that Jews feel in Germany and their anxiety about the future.

[Chaim Yahil]

East Germany (German Democratic Republic)

There was only a tiny remnant of Jews in the German Democratic Republic, among them some prominent writers, such as Arnold *Zweig, Anna Seghers, and Stefan Heym, and Communist politicians returning from exile. A large segment of the Jewish community, including the presidents of the major Jewish communities, fled to the West after the outbreak of the antisemitic Stalinist show trials, culminating in the Prague Slansky Trial of 1952. In the same year the Jewish community of Berlin, which until then was still a unified body in a divided city, split officially. Until his death in 1965, the communities in East Germany were served by Rabbi Martin Riesenburger. Afterwards, the community was mainly served by Hungarian officials. Although there was no ban on religious practice, the Communist regime made an effort to obscure the identity of Jews. They were allowed to publish a periodical, which was mainly of informative character and contained also the obligatory criticism of the State of Israel. Only a few of the public figures who are of Jewish origin retained any connection with organized Judaism. One of these was the author Arnold Zweig who was president of the Academy of Arts.

In the last years of the German Democratic Republic religious and cultural Jewish life were reinforced by the state, mainly motivated by the wish to improve its ties with the United States. This may have been the main motive behind the decision of the Honecker government to renovate the destroyed Oranienburger Street Synagogue in East Berlin. Jews in the gdr could now attain greater visibility. With this new policy, a significant number of individuals, often children or grandchildren of Jewish communists, discovered their Jewish roots, and in East Berlin some of these joined "We for Ourselves," a group of mostly marginally Jewish individuals who stood in an ambivalent relationship to the community; several of its members have since been accepted into the Jewish community. With the Honecker government's new attention to the Jews, a number of important initiatives became possible. East Berlin was able to appoint an American rabbi, Isaak Neuman, who was in office there for a short period from 1987 to 1988. At around the same time, the Weissensee Jewish cemetery, Europe's largest, was rehabilitated, and a descendant of one of the families that belonged to the former Neo-Orthodox community Adass Jisroel, Mario Offenberg, negotiated with the gdr in order to reestablish this community in East Berlin. The restored Neue Synagogue in Berlin's Oranienburger Street was now turned into a cultural center and archive, Centrum Judaicum, financed mostly through small private donations from East German individuals. The community in East Berlin reached the height of activity in 1988 and 1989, the two final years of its full independence: 1988 saw the first large observances of Kristallnacht, in a meeting of younger Jews from East and West Germany in East Berlin; an exhibit, Und lehret sie Gedachtnis, was shown there in the reconstructed Ephraim Palais, the residence of King Frederick ii's Jewish financier; on May 10, 1989, for the first time, Ha-Tikvah was sung and a community membership meeting referred to Israel's Independence Day. After the collapse of the Wall, Israel-oriented activities intensified; on November 11, 1989, for the first time, a large Israeli flag was displayed in West Berlin and a gdr-Israel Friendship Society began to be formed. These independent Eastern initiatives came to a halt very soon, however. Very much in step with the rapid unification of East and West Germany, the Western Central Council of Jews and the West Berlin Jewish community took control of their Eastern counterparts, and on January 1, 1991, the East Berlin Jewish community ceased to exist.

The number of members of the Jewish communities in East Germany declined from 2,600 in 1952 to 1,200 in 1967 to 350 (most of them in East Berlin) at the time of the dissolution of the German Democratic Republic in 1989. This count, however, ignores a much higher number of individuals of Jewish ancestry who chose not to register with the communities.

Jewish Life in Unified Germany (Post-1989)

November 9, which once had signified the end of German and European Jewry, received an additional meaning not only in German but also in German-Jewish history in 1989. When the Berlin Wall came down, the doors were opened not only to hundreds of thousands of East Germans from the former gdr and to ethnic Germans from the former Soviet Union but also to more unlikely candidates for immigration. With the upsurge of antisemitic rhetoric and acts, political instability, and economic depression, the Jews of the former Soviet Union began to look for new homes. Despite Israel's negative attitude and despite the fact that officially Germany was a non-immigrant country, it opened its doors to Jewish immigrants and has been trying to integrate them with relatively few bureaucratic impediments. In this respect, there is little disagreement along party lines, and the words of spd-politician Peter Glotz in the Bundestag debate of October 25, 1990, spoke for the ruling Christian Democrats as well: "The Germans have covered themselves in guilt. I believe that the least we can do now, when Jews express again their wish to return or to come to the land of the Holocaust, is … to solve the problems unbureaucratically and without much fanfare." Initially many Soviet Jewish refugees came to Germany with visitor visas and then applied for political asylum. With the change in the German Basic Law in 1993 this was no longer possible. But even before, Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the governors of the German states had agreed in a meeting on January 9, 1991, that Soviet Jews would be allowed in on humanitarian grounds as quota refugees. After a stay of eight years (according to age) the refugees become eligible for German citizenship. Those who had been admitted by individual German states would be considered as quota refugees retroactively, while allocations were made to the individual states to cover the coming years. There was general agreement that Germany could absorb up to 10,000 Jewish refugees annually. Between 1990 and 1998, 53,559 immigrants from the former Soviet Union joined the Jewish communities: about 1,000 in 1990, an average of 5,000 between 1991 and 1994, and an average of over 8,000 between 1995 and 1998. Between 1998 and 2004 there was almost the same number of Jewish immigrants. The actual number of immigrants from the former Soviet Union is of course much higher (about twice as much), if we consider the (growing) number of non-Jewish family members and the (few) Jews who decided not to join the Jewish communities.

The largest Jewish communities of Germany in 2003 were Berlin (appr. 11,000), Munich (9,000), Duesseldorf and Frankfurt (7,000), and Hanover, Hamburg, and Cologne (5,000). Some of those communities have increased tenfold since unification and have reached the numbers of the 1920s. In a few smaller cities and towns, like Straubing (1,713) or Osnabrueck (1,541) there are now by far more Jews than before 1933. In other places, mainly in East Germany, new Jewish communities have been established which are exclusively or almost exclusively immigrant communities, among them Rostock, Schwerin, and Brandenburg in the East, but also Emmendingen, Lörrach, Delmenhorst, and Hameln in the West. Despite all these accelerated developments, the percentage of Jews in the general German population stands at only about 0.1%, and most Germans still do not know any Jews.

In the attention given to the population explosion of Jews in Germany it has hardly been noted that the "old" Jewish population experienced a steady decline at the same time as the community grew due to immigration. Without the immigrants the Jewish community of Germany would have numbered (in 1999) 22,211 members, which is about 20% less than the 28,081 members of 1990. A second phenomenon is worth noting. The discrepancy between low birth rates and high mortality rates remained constant in the 1990s. Between 1990 and 1998 there was a total of only 1,079 births, as opposed to 4,972 deaths. Thirdly, and connected to this phenomenon, one should take note of the change in age structure. When the first immigrants arrived in the early 1990s, they were mostly younger people, and brought with them a large number of children. By the end of the decade, the older immigrants dominated the scene and the age structure was only slightly younger than in the previous period. In 1998, 20% (18% in 1989) were under 20 years of age, 21% (25%) were between 20 and 40, 30% (24%) between 41 and 60, and 29% (33%) over 60 years old.

Immigration has also changed (for the time being) the occupational structure of German Jewry. In the postwar years the majority of East European Jews took up traditional professions connected to trade and business. Although we do not possess exact statistics it can be assumed that a significant part of the Jewish survivors who came to Germany became small business owners, with some of them expanding them into large enterprises, especially in the areas of textiles and real estate. Many also went into dining and entertainment establishments – restaurants and bars – often in areas with a large American military presence. The occupational structure of the second generation is quite different, with a high proportion of professionals, such as physicians, lawyers, and journalists. There remain a significant number in business, though more in banking and real estate now. The vast majority of German Jews attend not only high schools but also proceed to study at universities in Germany or abroad.

The first Jewish day schools opened in Munich and Frankfurt already in the 1960s, Berlin followed in 1986, Duesseldorf in 1993. Berlin is home to the only Jewish high school in postwar Germany, which consists of a high percentage of non-Jewish pupils. Religious education of two hours a week is compulsory in most German states, and the Jewish community provides those classes in even the smallest communities. It has to be said, however, that it is extremely difficult to recruit qualified teachers with both Jewish knowledge and German-language skills. The Hochschule fuer Juedische Studien in Heidelberg, which was established in 1979 in order to educate new spiritual leaders for Jewish communal life, has graduated in its first 20 years of existence a few teachers, who are now employed in German-Jewish communities, but few rabbis, who mostly continued their studies abroad and did not return to Germany. The first rabbi educated in Heidelberg was employed by the Jewish community of Duesseldorf. Thus, most teachers and basically all rabbis are immigrants to the German-Jewish communities, or at least received their education outside Germany. With the disappearance of the older generation of German-born immigrants who returned to officiate in the German-Jewish communities the language issue becomes more and more significant.

Despite these difficulties and mainly due to the further increase of the Jewish population, the number of rabbis in Germany has grown in recent years. In 2004 there were 34 rabbis listed in the directory of community rabbis, as well as 11 Chabad rabbis, both numbers having doubled as compared to the situation a decade earlier. In a few places, such as Brandenburg, the community rabbi comes from the Lubavitch movement. Chabad developed quite a number of activities in the larger (and now also some smaller) communities, especially child-related. Thus, the only local Jewish summer camps in Germany are run by Chabad, which overcomes the language barrier by recruiting young American women who speak Yiddish to the children. These summer camps have been among their most successful activities in Germany. In recent years, Chabad has also initiated the annual Hanukkah lighting ceremony in German public places.

On the other side of the religious spectrum, the Reform and Conservative movements have made considerable inroads in recent years. Both had developed in 19th-century Germany but virtually disappeared with the destruction of German Jewry in the 1930s. Religious Jewish life in postwar Germany was dominated by East European Jews and therefore led to the establishment of Orthodox synagogues. Only in one Berlin synagogue (Pestalozzistrasse) and in Saarbruecken was the prewar organ tradition revived. However, even there Reform services remained in the tradition of prewar German Liberal Judaism, with separate seating and no active role for women in the service. In the 1980s the first egalitarian services were introduced in Berlin and Frankfurt, followed thereafter in a few other cities. Many of their members originally came from the small American Jewish presence in Germany. Having been established outside the Einheitsgemeinde structures, the Berlin and Frankfurt Liberal congregations were granted space within the Gemeinde in the later 1990s. Some other Liberal congregations, as in Munich and Cologne, remained outside the Gemeinde structure or founded a separate association of communities as in Lower Saxony. In 1995 the small new congregation of Oldenburg in Northern Germany hired the first woman rabbi in Germany, Swiss-born Bea Wyler. In 2005, the Zentralrat reached an agreement with the Union of Progressive Jews and accepted Liberal community associations from northern Germany as members.

Most Jews in Germany are what is often termed "non-practicing Orthodox." This means they do not attend synagogues on a regular basis but go to Orthodox synagogues during the High Holidays or family celebrations. Developments in recent years show the first signs of a more modern approach to the phenomenon of empty synagogues. Beside the Liberal congregations, which are united in an organization together with their Swiss and Austrian equivalents, there are a few modern Orthodox rabbis trying to replace the more East European-style services in their synagogues. They have initiated youth services, beginners' services, special Kabbalat Shabbat events, and regular German sermons. With the few exceptions of the largest communities, there is usually only one synagogue in town. This situation requires a certain amount of compromise in order to serve all community members. Berlin is the only German community which employs an Orthodox and a Liberal rabbi.

Kosher restaurants are integrated in the community centers of Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich, but most other communities have a kosher kitchen for Sabbath kiddush or special events. Several communities maintain old-age homes with a kosher kitchen. Shoḥets and mohels are extremely rare in Germany, and usually brought from France or Switzerland. In addition to religious activities the larger communities have their own frameworks of secular cultural programs. In Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich they are organized in adult education institutions which offer language classes, lecture series, and guest lectures with an often very impressive program. In smaller communities these programs have also increased over the years. It is perhaps a peculiar characteristic of the German situation that the audience for these Jewish cultural programs are overwhelmingly non-Jewish. As one consequence some communities, like Munich, established a Lehrhaus program which tries to create a more intimate atmosphere for the local Jewish population. Beginning in 2001, a cultural symposium called Tarbut has taken place regularly in the Bavarian Alps on themes of Jewish literature, politics, and arts, with several hundred participants from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

There exist a number of other Jewish organizations with regular programs, ranging from student organizations (organized in the German-wide Bundesverband Jüdischer Studenten in Deutschland) to Maccabi sports associations, wizo, and other women's organizations to senior citizen clubs.

The larger communities run youth centers with a broad range of activities. The lack of leadership is, however, visible in this respect as well. Directors are rare in Germany and are usually recruited from Israel, which means a high rate of turnover, language problems, and often also a gap between a religious leadership and a highly secular clientele. The Zionist Organization, and especially its youth organization, has been among the most active Jewish organizations, organizing seminars and camps, which for many young German Jews become a formative experience in the forging of their Jewish identities.

Jews are a tiny minority in today's Germany, constituting not more than 0.1% of the total population. Their voice, however, can hardly be ignored in the German public. Whenever there are major public debates about the German past, spokespersons of the Jewish community are given prominent space.

It is notable that all leading representatives of postwar German Jewry, from the volatile Bavarian state commissioner, Philipp Auerbach (who committed suicide in 1952 after a spectacular trial against him which failed to prove that he had embezzled restitution money), and the longtime secretary general of the Central Association, Hendrik van Dam, to its most recent presidents, Werner Nachmann, Heinz Galinski, Ignatz *Bubis, and Paul Spiegel, were German-born Jews, while the majority of Germany's Jewish community always remained of East European background. The election of Ignatz Bubis as president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany in 1992 marked a significant change of image for the German-Jewish community. He succeeded the stern Auschwitz survivor Heinz Galinski and his predecessor, Werner Nachmann, who had embezzled millions of marks of reparation money. Bubis, who survived the Holocaust as a child, symbolized a new optimism among German Jews and was one of the best-known figures in the German public. He was even suggested as a candidate for the Federal Presidency in the 1990s. The election of Bubis' successor after his untimely death in 1999 was for the first time a high profile public issue in Germany. Perhaps for the last time a Holocaust survivor, Duesseldorf community president Paul Spiegel, was elected president of the Central Association in January 2000.

In contrast to pre-Nazi Germany there were today only a handful of prominent German Jews in the public sector. For many years not a single professing Jew has been a member of the Bundestag, although there were today a few well-known younger Jews active in political life, such as Michel Friedman for the Christian Democrats and Micha Brumlik for the Greens. Together with the late Ignatz Bubis, a leading member of the Free Democrats, these most visible Jewish politicians all came from Frankfurt.

In the realm of journalism the foremost weekly, Die Zeit, had a Jewish publisher in Josef Joffe, and a few other prominent Jewish journalists could be found in the press and television. The most important and influential literary critic in Germany in the last decades of the 20th century was Marcel *Reich-Ranicki. Some observers have noticed an upsurge in German-Jewish literature in recent years. Indeed, there are quite a few young writers of varying quality who increasingly write about Jewish topics and are well known to the German public. At the same time it has to be noted that their audience is almost exclusively non-Jewish.

There exists one German-wide Jewish newspaper, the weekly Allgemeine Juedische Wochenzeitung, published by the Zentralrat. Some larger communities, such as Berlin, Frankfurt, and Duesseldorf, issue their own community bulletins. The Frankfurter Juedische Nachrichten is only issued a few times a year but remains significant both because of its independence and its high level. By now the Russian immigrants have also established their own press. Jewish student papers such as Cheschbon in the 1980s and Nudnik in the 1990s had a rather short-lived existence, but student papers continue to exist in varying formats.

The most prominent Jewish representatives of cultural life in Germany are to be found in the realm of music. An impressive list just of conductors can easily be drawn up, ranging from Daniel Barenboim and Vladimir Ashkenazy to James Levine, Lorin Maazel, and Asher Fish. None of them resides permanently in Germany or is affiliated with Jewish life there, but they all have regular appointments and thus put their stamp on German cultural life. Such a list is more than a curiosity: it demonstrates that for a certain sector of society a burgeoning cultural and economic life can overshadow the tragic past. What is true in music is also true in other areas, such as academia, the sciences, and business. Especially where no language barriers exist, increasing mobility makes people move to prosperous and culturally attractive places and stay there, either temporarily or permanently.

Since the 1960s and 1970s German public discourse has been characterized by a culture of memory, which began with modest exhibits and local memorials and reached its peak in the 1990s with the construction of several Jewish museums and the big debate around the Berlin Holocaust Monument. In the 1980s and 1990s the German public began to discuss the less pleasant aspects of the German past with an openness unknown before – ranging from the Historians Debate all the way up to the present debates about the Goldhagen book, the Walser speech, the Wehrmacht exhibit, and the slave labor reparations.

Here again larger German issues were decisive. It was the generation of 1968, and the issues of 1968, which influenced the future outlooks of both progressive and conservative Jewish intellectuals as well. The identification with the student revolt and its causes, just as the later disappointment with an antisemitism often posing as anti-Zionism, shaped the critical Jewish voices emerging first in opposition to the official leadership, but – at least in the Fassbinder scandal – overriding traditional borders. As Jewish intellectuals such as Micha Brumlik, Dan Diner, and Henryk Broder made it clear, their growing disillusionment with the German left caused them to reconsider their Jewish identities. On the other hand, the minority conservative Jewish view (represented for example by tv journalist Richard Loewenthal in the 1960s and 1970s or by the historian Michael Wolffsohn in later decades) was also decisively shaped by its opposition to the student revolt and the values connected to it.

More noticeable than any internal Jewish discourse is the immense German interest in matters Jewish, mainly in the cultural and scholarly spheres. Jewish museums were built in Frankfurt, Berlin, and many smaller places in the 1980s and 1990s and another one in Munich was under construction. Chairs and departments in the field of Jewish Studies spread in the same period. tv films, series, and mini-series on Jewish life are prime time viewing fare. Jewish festivals have become a regular part of local culture in Berlin, Munich, and many other places, Yiddish klezmer bands flourish, and Jewish book stores carry on a brisk trade.

[Michael Brenner (2nd ed.)]


Since the early 1980s, there has been an ever stronger evolution of two countervailing trends in West Germany, and as is now apparent, in East Germany as well. The first one consists of pro-Jewish and sometimes pro-Israeli currents with often strongly idealizing and romanticizing elements; the other, in the wake of growing racism, of more virulent forms of antisemitism. In the past, surveys have shown that the right-wing potential – expressed, for example, in sympathy for the moderate right-wing Republikaner party (roughly equivalent to France's Front National) or by core antisemitic attitudes – has been at about 15%. In recent years, however, the Right has experienced clear gains. This has to do with the traumatic experience of unification for many East Germans, and Germany experiencing the highest growth in foreign population of any state in the European community and far larger absolute numbers of immigrants than Britain or France, former colonial powers. In 1992 alone, willingness to vote for a right-wing party jumped from 12% to 19% in the West, from 8% to 12% in the East; Gerhard Frey's Deutsche Volksunion (dvu), the right of the Republikaner, grew from 22,000 to 24,000 members. In the 2004 state elections of Saxony, the extremist right-wing npd (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands) received almost 10% of the vote, and higher percentages among the younger voters. But in the nationwide Bundestag elections of 2005 they fell clearly under 2%.

Blatantly neo-Nazi groups, such as the Deutsche Alternative (ad) of the late Michael Kuhnen, grew from a few dozen members in the 1980s to over 1,000 in the 1990s, with a substantial growth in particular localities in the East. Neo-Nazi, skinhead-type activists increased concurrently from 1,000 to about 6,000 in early 1993, while the total right-wing extremist membership must be estimated at well over 40,000 members. With this growth and the crystallization of right-wing movements into ever more stable parties and other institutions, antisemitism, previously often underground, is now out in the open and acceptable again in some quarters. This goes hand in hand with desecrations of cemeteries, synagogues, monuments, and plaques commemorating the Holocaust (including, for example, the burning of a barracks at Sachsenhausen), with occasional attacks against individual Jews. These sentiments are often located in the lower and lower-middle class, as well as among some noteworthy neo-conservative and right-wing intellectuals. In order to contain the Right within its ranks, the governing cdu has largely downplayed the seriousness of these developments. While they represent a serious threat, as shown in the pogrom-like acts in Moellin, Rostock, or Hoyerswerda, the recent massive resistance against the Right is at least as noteworthy, especially the anniversary of Kristallnacht which is turning increasingly into a central day of anti-racist action, with hundreds of thousands in the large cities demonstrating against racism and the asylum policies of the government. Some in the Jewish community, notably Central Council Chair Ignatz Bubis, have been important voices in this regard.

Relations with Israel

Prior to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the State of Israel and the German Federal Republic (West Germany) in March 1965, relations between the two states were confined to the agreement of Sept. 10, 1952, for global recompense of the material damage inflicted on the Jewish people by the National-Socialist regime (see *Restitution and Indemnification). An Israel mission was in charge of the implementation of this agreement as the only official representative of Israel in the Federal Republic. No German counterpart existed in Israel, in view of vehement opposition there to extending relations beyond the commercial limits of the agreement. The Israel mission was, however, authorized to grant entry visas to Israel, where the British consulate, acting for the Federal Republic, granted entry visas to West Germany. The value of Israel's purchases under the agreement amounted to 60–80 million marks annually. As a result of the contact with the large number of suppliers, relations developed and reached far beyond the field of commerce. Consequently, and in view of the Federal Republic's impressive economic and political recovery from 1953 onward, a need was felt for more clearly defined relations, as well as for the presence of an official representative in Israel. In a letter to the Israel mission, written in March 1956, the then foreign secretary, H. von Brentano, officially proposed the establishment of a mission in Israel whose status would be parallel to that of the Israel mission. Although this proposal was accepted by Israel, it was not implemented by Germany, since the German Foreign Office feared the Arab States would react to the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the Federal Republic by recognizing the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) as a second sovereign German state. Such a development would be contrary to the Hallstein Doctrine (adopted in May 1958), whose basic aim was Germany's reunification.

On March 7, 1965 (two years after Ludwig Erhard had become chancellor of the Federal Republic) an offer to establish diplomatic relations with Israel was made; the timing of the offer was due to an official visit to Cairo by Walter Ulbricht, head of the Democratic Republic. Ulbricht's visit was considered by the Federal Republic's government as provocation by President Nasser of the United Arab Republic and an overture to the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic. In consequence of this visit and the publicity campaign initiated by Nasser against the supply of defensive arms to Israel by the Federal Republic (although Egypt received incomparably more weapons from the Soviet Union), diplomatic relations were broken off between Germany and Egypt and most of the Arab States. The Israeli government and the Knesset accepted the West German offer, and on May 12, 1965, diplomatic relations were finally established; exchange of ambassadors followed in July 1965. From July 1965, relations developed satisfactorily between the Federal Republic and Israel. The visit to Israel of the former Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, in May 1966 was a significant event. It demonstrated his friendship for Israel and for the former prime minister, David *Ben-Gurion. In November 1967 the former chancellor, Professor Erhard, paid a visit to Israel, which also symbolized the gradual normalization of relations. At the inauguration of the new Knesset building in 1966, the Federal Republic was represented by the president of its parliament, Eugen Gerstenmaier. An Israel-German chamber of commerce was established with Walter Hesselbach, a leading figure in the West German economy, and the former minister of finance, Franz Etzel, at its head. Long-term loans for development were granted by the Federal Republic to Israel in 1966 and subsequent years under an agreement of May 12, 1965. Similar loans had been granted for the development of the Negev in the years 1961–65, agreed upon at the historic meeting between Ben-Gurion and Adenauer at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on March 14, 1960. Visitors from all walks of life subsequently went from the Federal Republic to Israel, and these visits furthered better understanding between the two countries. Even in the five years preceding the establishment of diplomatic relations, about 40,000 young people aged between 18 and 25 years from the Federal Republic had visited Israel. The first German ambassador to Israel, Rolf Pauls, made unceasing efforts for the improvement of relations. Asher Ben-Nathan was Israel's first ambassador to the Federal Republic.

[Felix Eliezer Shinnar]

The policy of the Federal Republic of Germany toward Israel was originally based, to a certain extent, on the assumption that Germany had a unique responsibility in regard to the Jewish State, but this factor has since tended to play a smaller role. Since Germany has no special interests in the Middle East, no political conflicts were created. Germany supported the majority of Israel's requests to strengthen its ties with the European community (e.g., the Common Market). Personal relations between the leaders of both countries have also been strengthened in past years.

The support of Israel by the vast majority of Germans revealed by public opinion polls during the Six-Day War has waned since then, and in New Left circles a radical anti-Israel attitude has evolved. Chancellor Willy *Brandt's official visit to Israel, the first by a German chancellor, in 1973, was an occasion for demonstrations of friendship between the two countries. With his unequivocal anti-Nazi past he stressed the fact that his attitude was not determined by any personal feelings of guilt, but that every German – even of the generation which had not been involved in the Nazi atrocities – must remember the Holocaust for which Germany had been responsible. At the same time, however, Brandt strove for the normalization of relations between the two countries and their citizens.

During the Yom Kippur War, however, Germany not only emphasized her neutrality, but even had a hand in the distinctly pro-Arab resolution adopted by the European Community during the war. To some extent, however, Germany later modified this policy and took up a position midway between the friendly attitude of Holland and the pro-Arab stand of France. In his first official statement to the Bundestag on May 17, 1974, the new chancellor of the Federal Republic, Helmut Schmidt, reaffirmed his predecessor's Middle East policy, indicating his intention of continuing Bonn's balanced approach towards Israel and the Arab countries.

In his address at the United Nations on November 19, 1974, the German representative, Ruediger von Vechmar, expressed, among other things, his government's recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to decide whether they wish an independent authority in the territories to be handed over by Israel. West Germany abstained in the vote on the un resolution recognizing the right of the Palestinians to fight for their independence by every means. It had earlier abstained on the vote to invite plo representatives to the General Assembly. It voted against the resolution to grant observer status to the plo and in common with all other countries condemned the passing of the Jerusalem Law in 1980.

Trade relations between the two countries have continued to develop since the reparations agreement, and in 1972 Germany occupied third place in Israel's foreign trade, after the U.S. and England; 9% of Israel's exports and 12% of her imports were tied up with German trade. Imports from Federal Germany rose from $225.2 million in 1972 to $ 11.8 in 1973, $ 90 million in 1974, and $790.7 million in 1980. Exports from Israel similarly rose from $103.5 million in 1972 to $136.8 million in 1973, but dropped to $135 million in 1974. In 1980 they were $541.9 million.

In 1990, Germany gave Israel dm 63.6 million in development aid in the form of loans and other contributions; while in 1981, imports by Israel amounted to dm 1,724.4 million, by 1991 they had risen to dm 3,036.4 million; Israeli exports to Germany grew from dm 1,077.1 to dm 1,464.4 million. During the Gulf War, the debate between the "pacifists and bellicists" cut across all parties in Germany, and the Israeli public and politicians were angered about the neutral and sometimes anti-Israel stance taken by German politicians and the media, especially in light of the military hardware and poison gas installations given to Iraq by German firms. Partly because of the uproar caused by this, Germany promised Israel $670 million in aid; it supported the war effort with $5.5 billion and sent military goods and gas masks valued at $60 million. These monetary concessions vis-à-vis Israel were complemented by a flurry of visits, including that of Foreign Minister Genscher, to Israel and meetings by Chancellor Kohl and others with major international Jewish organizations.

Apart from the Gulf War and despite all historical obstacles, contacts have been increasing all along. Even before unification, for example, the speakers of both the West and East German parliaments, Rita Süssmuth and Sabine Bergmann-Pohl, in a demonstrative act both for international and domestic consumption, undertook to visit *Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and the number of mutual political visits in general is steadily growing. Presidents Chaim Herzog and Richard von Weizsaecker made major visits to each other's countries, and there are almost annual visits by the foreign ministers as well as occasional visits by the prime minister of Israel to Germany and by the German chancellor to Israel. Two Federal presidents, Johannes Rau and Horst Köhler, delivered speeches in the Knesset in German, despite the objections of some Knesset members.

Exchanges also intensified at the cultural and scientific levels. After the death of Herbert von Karajan (whose activities in World War ii were regarded with suspicion) in 1989, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra could finally visit Israel the following year, and even Gottfried Wagner, great-grandson of Richard Wagner, was invited in 1990 to participate in lectures and discussions. Israeli academics receive study grants to Germany, and the German-Israeli Foundation engenders a wide network of scientific cooperation. Israeli artists, likewise, receive considerable attention in Germany; most noteworthy was the 1990 meeting of Israeli and German authors in Mainz, with Aharon *Meged, Yoram *Kaniuk, Ruth *Almog, and David *Grossman. In 1991 Amos *Oz received the prestigious award of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Tensions between Israel and Germany Jewry have been aggravated by Israeli pressure on the German government not to admit Jews from the former Soviet Union, and by Ignatz Bubis' criticism of Israel's treatment of Palestinians, especially its deportation policy.

Today, in an ironic twist and despite all ambivalences, bitterness, and mutual misunderstandings, the presence of Israel is greater in Germany than in any other European country, and Germany has become the major advocate of Israeli interests and concerns in Europe.


The major comprehensive work is German-Jewish History in Modern Times (1996–98), ed. by Michael A. Meyer, asst. ed. Michael Brenner, which includes bibliographical essays. Earlier bibliographies are German Jewry (1958), supplemented by From Weimar to Hitler: Germany 1918–1933 (19642); Persecution and Resistance under the Nazis (19602); and After Hitler (1963), all published by the Wiener Library, London. These are brought up to date in the Yearbooks of the Leo Baeck Institute (ylbi, 1956ff.). The Bibliography of Jewish Communities in Europe (bjce), compiled by B. Ophir in the Yad Vashem Institute, Jerusalem, is the most complete for an economic, social, and regional history. add. bibliography: Jewish history in specific regions is covered by the series Bibliographien zur deutsch-juedischen Geschichte, including volumes on Bavaria (1989), Hamburg (1994), and Silesia (1995–2004). The following periodicals are indispensable: Aschkenas; blbi (since 1992 replaced by Jüdischer Almanach); hj; Juedische Familien-Forschung; jjgl; jjlg; jjv;Menora; mgadj; mgwj; Zeitschrift fuer Demographie und Statistik der Juden; zgjd. general: J. Reinharz and W. Schatzberg (eds.), The Jewish Response to German Culture: From the Enlightenment to the Second World War (1985); H.G. Adler, Die Juden in Deutschland (1960); K. Schilling (ed.), Monumenta Judaica, 3 vols. (1963); W. Kampmann, Deutsche und Juden (1963); I. Elbogen and E. Sterling, Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland (1967); H.M. Graupe, Die Entstehung des modernen Judentums (1969); M. Kreutzberger (ed.), Bibliothek und Archiv (1970). add. bibliography: S.L. Gilman (ed.), Yale Companion to Jewish Writing and Thought in German Culture (1997); A. Herzig, Jüdische Geschichte in Deutschland (1997). add. bibliography: M. Kaplan (ed.), Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618–1945 (2005). medieval: Aronius, Regesten; G. Caro, Sozial-und Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Juden im Mittelalter, 2 vols. (1924); Finkelstein, Middle Ages; Germ Jud; G. Kisch, Jewry-Law in Medieval Germany (1949); idem, Jews in Medieval Germany (1949); J.R. Marcus, Jews in the Medieval World (1960); J. Trachtenberg, The Devil and the Jews (1961); C. Roth (ed.), Dark Ages (1966), 122–42, 162–74; I.A. Agus, Heroic Age of Franco-German Jewry (1969). add. bibliography: E. Zimmer, Jewish Synods in Germany in the Late Middle Ages (1978); A. Haverkamp (ed .), Zur Geschichte der Juden im Deutschland des spaeten Mittelalters und der fruehen Neuzeit (1981); Th. Metzger, Juedisches Leben im Mittelalter (1983); I. Yuval, Hakhamim be-Doram (1988); M. Toch, Die Juden im mittelalterlichen Reich (1998); A. Haverkamp (ed.), Juden und Christen zur Zeit der Kreuzzuege (1999); M. Schmandt, Judei, cives, et incole (2002). mercantilism and absolutism: J.R. Marcus, Communal Sick-Care in the German Ghetto (1947); H. Schnee, Die Hoffinanz und der moderne Staat, 6 vols. (1953–67); H. Kellenbenz, Sephardim an der unteren Elbe (1958); S. Stern, Der Preussische Staat und die Juden, 2 vols. (1962); idem, Court Jew (1950). add. bibliography: D. Cohen, Landjudenschaften als Organe juedischer Selbstverwaltung, 3 vols. (1996–2001); R. Kiessling and S. Ullmann (eds.), Landjudentum im deutschen Suedwesten waehrend der Fruehen Neuzeit (1999); S. Ullmann, Nachbarschaft und Konkurrenz (1999); R. Ries and F. Battenberg (eds.), Hofjuden (2002). enlightenment and emancipation: J. Katz, Tradition and Crisis (1961); M.A. Meyer, Origin of the Modern Jew (1967). add. bibliography: J. Katz, Out of the Ghetto (1973); D. Sorkin, The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780–1840 (1987); M. Brenner, V. Caron, and U. Kaufmann (eds.), Jewish Emancipation Reconsidered (2003); D. Bourel, Moses Mendelssohn. La naissance du judaisme moderne (2004). add. bibliography: S. Feiner, The Jewish Enlightenment (2004). 19thand 20thcentury: J. Reinharz, Fatherland or Promised Land; the Dilemma of the German Jew, 1903–1914 (1975); J. Toury, Die Politschen Orientierungen der Juden in Deutschland (1966). add. bibliography: J. Toury, Eintritt der Juden ins deutsche Buergertum (1972); R. Ruerup, Emanzipation und Antisemitismus (1975); J. Toury, Soziale und politische Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland 1847–1871 (1977); D. Sorkin, The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780–1840 (1987); Sh. Volkov, Juden in Deutschland 1780–1918 (1994); J. Ehrenfreund, Mémoire juive et nationalité allemande (2000); E. Hamburger and Mosse, Werner (eds.), Entscheidungsjahr 1932: Zur Judenfrage in der Endphase der Weimarer Republik Juden im oeffentlichen Leben Deutschlands (1968); U. Tal, Christians and Jews in Germany (1975); D.L. Niewyk, The Jews in Weimar Germany (1980); S.E. Aschheim, Brothers and Strangers: The East European Jew in German and German Jewish Consciousness, 1800–1923 (1982); G.L. Mosse, German Jews Beyond Judaism (1985); T. Maurer, Ostjuden in Deutschland 1918–1933 (1986); J. Wertheimer, Unwelcome Strangers: East European Jews in Imperial Germany (1987); M. Kaplan, The Making of the Jewish Middle Class (1991); H. Lavsky, Before Catastrophe the Distinctive Path of German Zionism (1996); M. Brenner, The Renaissance of Jewish Culture in Weimar Germany (1996); M. Brenner and D.J. Penslar (eds.), In Search of Jewish Community (1998). antisemitism: P. Massing, Rehearsal for Destruction (1949); A. Leschnitzer, Magic Background of Modern Anti-semitism (1956); P.G.J. Pulzer, Rise of Political Anti-semitism in Germany and Austria (1964); J. Toury, Mehumah u-Mevukhah be-Mahpekhat 1848 (1968); E. Sterling, Judenhass (1969); G.L. Mosse, Germans and Jews (1970); I. Schorsch, Jewish Reactions to German Anti-Semitism (1972); S. Volkov, Juedisches Leben und Antisemitismus im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (1990); S. Rohrbacher, Gewalt im Biedermeier (1993); Ch. Hoffmann, W. Bergmann, and H.W. Smith, Exclusionary Violence (2002). holocaust: R. Hilberg, Destruction of the European Jews (1967); G. Reitlinger, Final Solution (1968); L. Poliakov and J. Wulf, Das Dritte Reich und die Juden (1955); International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 23 vols. (1949), index; W. Scheffler, Judenverfolgungim Dritten Reich (1964); idem, Die Nationalsozialistsche Judenpolitik (1960). add. bibliography: D. Bankier, The Germans and the Final Solution: Public Opinion under Nazism (1992); D. Bankier (ed.), Probing the Depths of German Antisemitism: German Society and the Persecution of the Jews, 1933–1941 (2000); S. Friedlander, Nazi Germany and the Jews, vol. 1 (1997); M. Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair (1998). postwar: L.W. Schwarz, The Redeemers (1953); H. Maor, Ueber den Wiederaufbau der juedischen Gemeinden in Deutschland seit 1945 (1961); N. Muhlen, The Survivors (1962); A. Elon, Journey through a Haunted Land (1967); K. Gershon, Postscript (1969); L. Katcher, Post Mortem: The Jews of Germany Today (1968); ajyb (1945–) F.E. Shinnar, Be-Ol Korah u-Regashot (1967); Die Juden in Deutschland 1951/52–1958/59: ein Almanach (1959); Vom Schicksal gepraegt … (1957); H.G. van Dam, Die Juden in Deutschland seit 1945 (1965); B. Engelmann, Deutschland ohne Juden (1970). add. bibliography: H.M. Broder and M.R. Lang (eds.), Fremd im eigenen Land (1979); M. Brumlik et. al. (eds.), Jüdisches Leben in Deutschland seit 1945 (1986); R. Ostow, Jews in Contemporary East Germany (1989); A. Nachama and J.H. Schoeps (eds.), Aufbau nach dem Untergang (1992); E. Burgauer, Zwischen Erinnerung und Verdrängung – Juden in Deutschland nach 1945 (1993); A. Königseder and J. Wetzel, Lebensmut im Wartesaal (1994); S.L. Gilman, Jews in Today's German Culture (1994); Y.M. Bodemann (ed.), Jews, Germans, Memory (1996); M. Brenner, After the Holocaust (1997); J. Geis, Übrig sein – Leben "danach" (1999); Z. Mankowitz, Life between Memory and Hope (2002); R. Gay, Das Undenkbare tun (2001); H. Lavsky, New Beginnings: Holocaust Survivors in Bergen-Belsen and the British Zone in Germany (2002); L. Morris and J. Zipes (eds.), Unlikely History (2002); J. Geller, Jews in Post-Holocaust Germany 19451953 (2005); W. Bergmann and R. Erb (eds.), Antisemitismus in der politischen Kultur nach 1945 (1990); F. Stern, Im Anfang war Auschwitz (1991). relations with israel: R. Vogel, The German Path to Israel (1969); I. Deutschkron, Israel und die Deutschen (1970). add. bibliography: N. Hansen, Aus dem Schatten der Katastrophe (20042); Y.A. Jelinek, Deutschland und Israel (2004).


views updated May 29 2018


Federal Republic of Germany

Major Cities:
Bonn, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Bremen, Dresden, Heidelberg, Cologne, Potsdam, Lübeck, Hanover, Kassel, Nuremberg, Duisburg, Dortmund, Aachen, Bochum, Augsburg

Other Cities:
Bielefeld, Brunswick, Chemnitz, Dessau, Erfurt, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Hagen, Jena, Karlsruhe, Kiel, Krefeld, Magdeburg, Mainz, Mannheim, Münster, Rostock, Schwerin, Wiesbaden, Wuppertal, Zwickau


This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report 1999 for Germany. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at for the most recent information available on travel to this country.


A stay in Germany, the heart of central Europe, means living and working in one of the most dynamic, progressive and interesting of European countries. Today, it is an opportunity to witness, and participate in, an important new phase of German and European history. In addition, Germany offers a high standard of living, extensive travel opportunities both within and outside the country, world-class cultural events and recreational facilities for everyone.

Despite its linguistic and cultural affinity and close ties with the U.S., Germany is a distinctly foreign experience and assignment to Germany requires adjusting to a different pace and way of life. As Europeans, for example, Germans are more formal in business and social relationships than Americans. The national culture and its regional variations are shaped by patterns rooted in a long and unique central European history. Although English is a commonplace alternate language in parts of Germany, living in Germany will be more rewarding for those who speak German or who have the interest and initiative to take advantage of the many opportunities to learn the language.

As the century ends and a new millennium begins, Germany's Government and Parliament have come back to Berlin, the nation's historic capital. The immediate postwar era is over. Both Germany and Berlin are whole again. Germany today is the world's third largest economy and the economic foundation on which the euro, Europe's common currency, rests. The years ahead are certain to be filled with exciting new challenges, new issues and new opportunities for partnership with the United States as Germany and Europe reshape themselves for the future.

This country of broad variations in its geography and its culture is one that has endured a long and troubled history, often as the battlefield for the great conflicts which have embroiled the European continent. It was not until the mid-19th century that what is now Germany became a federation; until that time, it had been a conglomeration of independent states. The empire was formed in 1871 after Prussia's victory over France, and a period of prosperity and expansion began. Bowed by the outcome of the First World War and the subsequent economic and political chaos, Germany rose again as the Third Reich, but was finally defeated in 1945 by Allied powers and divided after the war. As a democratic republic, it has rebuilt itself into an important and influential state.



Greater Bonn has a population of over 300,000. It was the provisional capital from 1949-91. Although Berlin has been reinstated as Germany's capital, Bonn remains, for the time being the country's political nucleus. The city is studded with buildings that house a myriad of official government offices. Bonn is also known as a university town and as the birthplace of Beethoven. The house Beethoven was born in is now a museum and is probably Bonn's best known attraction. Bonn has a large concert hall, the Beethoven-halle, and a opera house. Bonn's Rheinisches-Landes-Museum contains the skull of the famous Neanderthal man.

The city, badly damaged during World War II, had not been restored by 1949 when it became the provisional capital. Facilities had to be found or built to provide housing and office space for the German ministries and various embassies, foreign journalists, etc. Existing facilities were converted to government use, and new ministries were built in a simple, functional style. Most embassies found or built structures for chanceries in Bonn, but diplomatic corps residences are located throughout the area from Cologne to Remagen, a distance of some 40 miles.


The availability of food on the German market is much the same as in the U.S.

Local German markets are well stocked, and open-air markets sell excellent seasonal fruits and vegetables.

German grocery stores are somewhat smaller than their American counterparts, but the selections are generally good. Most German grocery stores carry fresh fruits and vegetables. Hours of operation are somewhat restricted compared to the U.S., with most shops closing at 6:30 pm on weeknights and at 2 pm on Saturdays. No Sunday shopping is available.


Bonn has a moderate, maritime climate. Although lightweight summer clothing is generally not needed here, warm, humid spells can be expected most years. Warm clothing and rain gear are a must. Hat, gloves and a warm winter coat are advisable. The Plittersdorf Sales Store stocks a small quantity of American and European-made clothing. Local clothing is fashionable but expensive, and sizing is different. Children's clothes are especially expensive. Shoes are also expensive in Germany, and half, small, and narrow sizes are difficult to find.

Supplies and Services

German stores are well stocked for all household needs.

Tailoring, shoe repair, dry-cleaning, laundry, and beauty shops are available in Plittersdorf and other nearby German areas.

Religious Activities

Roman Catholic and Protestant services are conducted in English in the American Stimson Memorial Chapel in Plittersdorf. A full-time Catholic priest and two Protestant ministers serve the community. Sunday school, CCD, youth fellowship programs, Bible study, and prayer meetings are offered.

The Latter-day Saints, Anglican-Episcopal, Baptist, and Christian Science churches hold English services outside the community. A Jewish synagogue in Bonn offers services in German.


The Bonn American Schools, operated by the Department of Defense Dependents School System (DoDDS), are accredited by the North Central Association. The elementary school offers instruction in kindergarten through grade 5, and the middle/high school grades 6 to 12. Both schools comprise about 500 students. Foreign students representing 45 countries make up almost 50 percent of the student population.

School standards and curriculum equal those of U.S. public schools. In addition to the regular academic curriculum, the elementary school provides special classes in talented and gifted instruction and individualized instruction for special education students.

The high school curriculum is considered to be excellent and covers 4 years of English, science, mathematics, and social studies, as well as 5 years of German and French and 2 years of Spanish. Music and art are also offered, as well as courses in home economics, industrial arts, and business. The school has an excellent reputation, with strong departments in foreign language, science, business, television media, music, and computer science. The extracurricular program (ECP) has an especially strong Athletic Department, with teams in football, wrestling, girls and boys golf, tennis, track, basketball, cross-country, soccer, and girls volleyball. The girls teams have won many championships over the past 4 years. The school competes in the Benenor Conference (Belgian, Netherlands, and North Germany). Other ECP offerings vary from year to year, but generally the school offers a band, chorus, yearbook, and school newspaper. The video club, which was started during the 1983-84 school year, is especially strong, with two weekly closed-circuit programs within the Plittersdorf community. (Although not a DoDDS-sponsored program, the community hosts a very active swim team that competes with military schools all over Europe.)

The high school has offered the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) since the 1982-83 school year, and the Advanced Placement Program (AP) since February 1983. There is an active Advanced Studies Program, which includes TAG (talented and gifted), IB, AP, Independent Study, and Accelerated Middle School Program. There are also strong programs in Special Education and English-as-a-second language (ESL).

Each school has its own School Advisory Council (SAC) and an active PTSA. Though advisory in nature, these volunteer organizations are highly influential in the successful operation of the two schools.

Both schools earned the number one spot in DoDDS-Germany on the California Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) in May of 1987 and 1988, with the high school repeating the rating for the second year. The elementary school was number 1 of about 90 schools, while the high school was ranked 1 among the 28 DoDDS high schools. Bonn American High is one of three DoDDS schools in the last 6 years to receive this award. Both schools score consistently in the top 5 percent.

Tuition at the Bonn American Schools, which ranged from $7,200-$7,500 for the 1992-93 school year, goes up annually at about the same rate as inflation in the U.S. For information write:

Bonn American High School
PSC 117 Box 390
APO AE 09080


Bonn American Elementary School
PSC 117 Box 125
APO AE 09080-0005

Some American children have attended the British Embassy Preparatory School. The tuition is about $4,000. The school offers a British education for boys and girls in kindergarten through grade 8 (13 years of age maximum). The independent school can respond flexibly and quickly to parent-student concerns. If children are ready, they read in kindergarten. Emphasis is placed on composition, spelling, grammar, reading, and reading comprehension. American achievement tests are given by special arrangement. For information write:

The British Embassy Preparatory School
Tulpenbaumweg 42
53177 Bonn

A British secondary school is available for grades 9 to 12. For information write:

British High School, Bonn e.V.
Gotenstrasse 50
53175 Bonn
Tel. (0228) 37-40-84

The Bonn International Academy serves ages 3-16 and describes itself as offering a solid academic program based on the British School System with special consideration for the needs of the diplomatic child. For information write:

Bonn International Academy
Godesberger Allee 24
53175 Bonn
Tel. (0228) 37-77-88

The Nicolaus-Cusanus Gymnasium is an up-to-date German school which covers grades 5 to 13. The school population is one-quarter foreign and three-quarters German. Children up to age 15 who do not know German or who have inadequate classroom German are placed in "German for Foreigners" classes for up to 1 year or until their German is adequate. Tuition is free as are most of the books. There are minor expenses for extra books and supplies. Space in the foreigners' program is limited, and parents who plan to enroll their children should correspond promptly with the school at:

The Nicolaus-Cusanus Gymnasium
Hindenbergallee 50
53175 Bonn

Other German elementary and secondary schools have been used by a few American families. Interested families should allow time to investigate the possibilities after arrival in Bonn.

The Bonn American Preschool, operated by AEA, provides a pre-school program for children 3-5 years old. A typical school-day includes free play in the classroom, songs and stories, quiet activities, handicrafts, outdoor play, and cleanup. Creativity and self-expression are emphasized. Occasionally, there is a waiting list. AEA also operates a kindergarten.

Preference is given to U.S. Government dependents, but you should enroll your children by mail if you plan to arrive in Bonn late in the summer. Tuition provides the school's income. For preschool information write:

Bonn American Preschool
Kennedyallee 115
53175 Bonn


PSC 117 Box 270
APO AE 09080
(0228) 37-95-86
The Daycare Center

This facility provides a baby-sitting service for children aged 6 weeks to 5 years. It is open 5 days a week from 8 am to 6 pm. Fees are about $2.35 per hour on a monthly basis and $3 per hour on a drop-in basis. In addition, there is now an Infant Room which provides day-care to infants from 6 weeks to 14 months. Hours are the same as the Day Care and charges are about $4 per hour.

Special Educational Opportunities

Bonn's night schools, called Volkshochschulen, offer courses in German for foreigners and instruction in political science, philosophy, the arts, literature, sports, cooking, art, etc. Fees are moderate. Night schools sponsor trips to places of interest, film showings, and lectures.

The Bonn University offers the following courses: theology, law, political science, medicine, arts, mathematics, science, agriculture, economics, education, and social science. German-speaking foreign students are welcomed. Tuition is free. German universities begin at the college junior level by U.S. standards.

In Bonn, the University of Maryland offers various undergraduate courses. For American University courses at nearby military facilities.


Golfers have access to several challenging golf courses. An international riding school, German tennis clubs, swimming and rowing clubs, and athletic clubs, all with limited membership, are available in the Bonn-Bad Godesberg area. American children may play on local German soccer teams.

While not as extensive, there are opportunities for freshwater and deep-sea fishing.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

The beautiful countryside around Bonn invites touring. There are many castles, Roman ruins and charming villages. Bonn is situated on the navigable Rhine River, and during summer, river cruises are popular. The area has excellent opportunities for cycling and hiking. Organized hikes through the German countryside or "Volks-marching" is a German pastime.

Skiing is possible during the winter months in the nearby Eifel Mountains and in the Hartz Mountains.

Within easy range of Bonn, the Rhine, Mosel, and Ahr Valleys with their vineyards, castles, and restaurants offer extensive and intensive exploring. More distant points of cultural and historical interest are easily accessible by rail or car on weekends. Because Bonn enjoys a central European location, day trips to Belgium, Luxembourg, and Holland are possible.


Theater, art galleries, museums, and musical performances may be found in any German city of more than 100,000. Although Bonn provides fewer recreational and cultural facilities than most European capitals, it has excellent facilities for a city of its size. Besides art galleries and museums, Bonn has the Beethovenhalle, in which concerts are given two or three evenings a week. Theaters and the opera house present plays, ballet, or opera each evening. Düsseldorf (population 675,000) is only 45 minutes away by car, and Cologne (population 994,000) is only 30 minutes away. Operas, plays, first-rate symphony orchestras, nightclubs, and good restaurants are found in both cities. Bonn celebrated the 2,000th anniversary of its founding in 1989, with festivities that were held throughout the year.

Social Activities

The American Women's Group sponsors cultural, educational, and welfare activities. Other activities are available through the Bonn Booster Club, the PTSA, the Teen Club, Girl and Boy Scout Troops, and a Cub Scout Pack and Brownies for boys and girls. A German-American "Friends of Music" Group arranges concerts by German and American artists in private homes. The International Stammtisch arranges speakers one night a month at the American Embassy Club.


Berlin is a capital city with a turbulent past, the crucible of a century of history. Reduced to rubble by World War II bombing, and starkly divided by the Cold War, the city has survived and prospered through the courage, optimism and determination of its citizens. Today, Berlin has a population of nearly four million. The city is situated on the North German Plain about 100 miles south of the Baltic Sea and 50 miles west of the Oder River, the modern border between Poland and Germany. Berlin is one of three German cities that comprise a separate Land although it is completely surrounded by Land Brandenburg. The city is divided into 20 districts, each with its own name, ruling authority and history. Since 1990, but especially since a huge construction and modernization boom started in mid-decade, the city has experienced a process of radical economic and physical change as well as a significant cultural renaissance. Berlin is once again the seat of Germany's Government and Parliament and the move of ministries, offices and embassies from Bonn is continuing.

Berlin's climate is similar to the northeastern U.S. even though the city lies at a much more northerly latitude. Overcast days are not uncommon and summers tend to be cool and rainy although uncomfortable summer heat waves do occur. Winters are cool and temperatures between 20°F and 40°F are usual from December to February although much colder days and nights are not infrequent along with periodic snowfalls. Berlin is one of Europe's most celebrated green cities with over 20 percent of its area devoted to parks. Although completely landlocked, Berlin is also a lakeside city, with an extensive complex of forested urban parks and lakes where residents enjoy swimming, sailing, water sports and sunning.

There are several Internet sites with Berlin-specific information. A good starting point is: with English-language information about Berlin and excellent links to scores of other Berlin-relevant sites.

to maintain their own grounds. Many yards are very large, and you may wish to check with GSO before packing out to determine if you will need to ship gardening equipment. Lawn mowers are provided to Department of State employees (other agencies have their own policies concerning furnishings and equipment).


The availability of food in German food stores is much the same as in the U.S. albeit with some important differences. Retail shopping is tightly controlled in Germany and the inconvenient shopping hours present serious challenges to working couples. Most food shops are closed evenings, Sundays and holidays and are tightly shut by mid-afternoon on Saturdays. Fortunately, loosening restrictions in Berlin have resulted in many major supermarkets remaining open until 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. on weekdays, and popular "warehouse" stores are open as late as 10:00 p.m. on week-days and 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

Outdoor farmers markets and neighborhood groceries are a feature of city life throughout Berlin. Fresh fruits and vegetables are excellent but availability is distinctly seasonal. The German diet usually emphasizes meat (especially pork) at the expense of fish but fresh and smoked fish along with excellent poultry and game are available in most large markets. Fine bakeries are everywhere with huge selections of fresh bread and rolls and other tempting baked goods often made on the premises. German and other European wines and cheeses are widely available. Familiar U.S. products are found in most large supermarkets although favorite breakfast cereals, for example, may be slightly altered for the European palate. Ethnic food shops are scattered throughout the city. Berlin's famous Kaufhaus des Westens Department Store (popularly known by its initials, KaDeWe, or "Kah-Day-Vay") has a specialty food hall that rivals Harrod's in London with a huge (and quite expensive) selection of gourmet-quality fresh and imported food items which can be bought for home or consumed on the premises. Generally, food prices in Germany are somewhat higher than in the U.S.


Clothing suitable for autumn and winter wear in Washington, D.C. will be ideal for Berlin. The climate is generally much cooler than Washington's. Clothing for men and women is readily available in Berlin with shops ranging from expensive boutiques offering familiar designer labels to more moderately-priced department stores. Clothing is usually costly in Europe, especially children's clothes, but quality is high and most goods are European-made. On the other hand, good European shoes are also widely available, usually at prices lower than in the U.S. Priority mail should be requested for mail order clothing from the U.S. Internet ordering significantly lowers telephone charges when dealing with the large U.S mail order suppliers.

Supplies and Services

As with most large European cities, Berlin offers a nearly unlimited range of supplies and services. There are differences however, between U.S. and European standards and practices that sometime make locating a particular item or familiar service difficult. Such services as laundry and dry cleaning, hair stylists for men and women, shoe repair and tailoring arc readily available in most neighborhood at prices somewhat higher than in the U.S.

Domestic Help

Domestic help is difficult to obtain and expensive in Berlin although agencies exist to provide domestic services. Employers are expected to comply rigorously with applicable German immigration and social security laws which control legal status, working conditions and the payment of required taxes.

Religious Activities

Church services and Sunday School activities-both Protestant and Roman Catholic-are held in various Berlin Churches. English-language Protestant services are conducted in the American Church in Berlin. Berlin has a growing Jewish community, now more than 10,000 members, and Jewish services are held at locations throughout the city. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has an active community in Berlin. In addition, there are several other active Protestant denominations, many of which offer services in English, and a particularly large Muslim community.


The JFK School is part of the German public school system and is a special bicultural German-American community school originally established in 1960. English-speaking students are taught in English and study German until their German reaches a level of fluency to enable them to join German-language classes. The JFK School includes grades K-12 and offers a U.S. high school diploma (or a German diploma through its arbitur program which requires a 13th grade). The school currently has an enrollment of more than 1,000 students equally divided between German and foreign. The school's faculty is made up of Germans, Americans and other nationalities.

There are tutoring programs in reading and mathematics available at the JFK School. However, there are no facilities for children with special learning problems or children who have unusual physical or emotional needs. Questions about special educational issues should be addressed to the school Managing Principal, John F. Kennedy School, 95-123 Teltower Damm, 14167 Berlin, Germany. You can also find the JFK School on the Internet at:

Some American children attend the Berlin/Potsdam International School (BPIS), located near Potsdam. The BPIS offers the international baccalaureate program and the U.S. High School Diploma. The language of instruction is English. Other children attend the Berlin British School (BBS). The BBS offers nursery, primary and middle school programs for children between the ages of three and 13. The curriculum is based on the English national curriculum, but has been adjusted to roughly match those of other international schools. The language of instruction is English. The BBS is located in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg. Finally, some American children also attend standard Berlin public schools nearby their homes, where all instruction is in German.

In addition, there are other schools in Berlin with international student bodies. Together with the JFK School and other schools mentioned here, there are an increasing number of school options in Berlin providing American parents with unusually wide schooling choices. Parents should investigate the available choices and seek the best possible match for their school-age children. Various preschool and day care options are also available in Berlin.

Special Educational Opportunities

There are three large universities in Berlin: the Humboldt University, founded in 1910, and located in Berlin's Mitte District; the Free University of Berlin, founded in the post-war period and located in Dahlem; and the Berlin Technical University located in Charlottenburg. Instruction at Berlin's universities is in German. Several U.S. universities offer extension and correspondence courses in Berlin.


Berlin offers many private and public athletic facilities. These include private and semi-private golf courses, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, sailing facilities and outdoor sports fields throughout the city.

Although Berlin's terrain is flat, a few natural snow slopes exist for downhill skiers. Most nearby ski areas are for cross country skiing, a popular German wintertime recreation when snow conditions permit. Ice skating is also popular and there are several rinks open in winter. The Botanical Gardens and Museum and the extensive Grünewald and Tegel Forests provide extensive sites for family outings and parts of the Grünewald and Wannsee areas are designated nature preserves. The Wannsee is home to one of Europe's largest lake beaches. Running along city streets or pedestrian sidewalk, is not customary in Europe (although not uncommon in Berlin). There are many trails and paths reserved for biking and running, especially in the Grünewald which is crisscrossed with bike and pedestrian paths. The Tiergarten, Berlin's Central Park, and the grounds of Char-lottenburg Palace also offer good runs for joggers.


Berlin's reputation as a great city for art suffered from the depravations of war and political division but now, with the reunification of Berlin, and the shift of the heart of the city eastwards to its historic and cultural center that had been East Berlin, the city is enjoying a cultural rejuvenation. A dramatic new center for culture has opened at the edge of the Tiergarten near the reconstructed Potsdamer Platz and is the new location for museums of modern art and the 18th and 19th century collections of the Gemaldegalerie, formerly situated in Dahlem. Meanwhile, in the Mitte District. Berlin's Museuminsel, home to the "old" National Gallery and museums of classical art, is undergoing renovation with plans for a dramatic new work by architect I.M. Pei on the drawing boards. Charlottenburg Palace houses several museums including Berlin's well-known Egyptian Museum. home to the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti.

Berlin is one of Europe's greatest cities for serious music. The Berlin Philharmonic is one of the world's premier orchestras. 11 performs in a sparkling new Philharmonic Hall in the Tiergarten complex. In addition. the city has three opera houses. The Berlin music season is long and feature, performances annually by nearly all the world's finest companies, dancers. musicians, conductors and singers, with both traditional and modern programs, Theater is a Berlin staple and, although most productions on the Berlin stage are naturally in German, there are local English-language theater groups and occasional visits by English-speaking touring companies.

Most American films reach Europe about three months after their U.S, openings. Foreign films (and television programs too) are dubbed in Germany although films are shown in their original language at some Berlin movie theaters. The Berlin Film Festival brings many of the world's best films to Berlin each February.

Berlin after dark offers plenty of entertainment for night-owls. Cabarets, dance clubs, rock and jazz joints and bars proliferate in all parts of the city. Fine restaurants at all prices are everywhere offering German and continental cuisine in addition to a huge variety of ethnic restaurants for every budget. In summer, the city blossoms with sidewalk restaurants and outdoor cafes fine for eating, drinking or just plain people-watching. Kids will love Berlin's famous Zoo, especially the giant Pandas, the bridge over the reptile pit and the attached Aquarium with 9,000 varieties of fish.

Social Activities

There are probably more opportunities in Berlin for making contact with the local American and international community than hours in the day. Many social contacts tend to flow from professional relationships although several more traditional community and church-based organizations exist and have active social programs and sponsor fund-raising activities. The Berlin Chapter of the Steuben-Schurz Society brings Americans together with prominent Berliners for lectures by distinguished speakers. The Berlin American Chamber of Commerce provides a forum for business contacts and activities with a commercial-economic focus. The Society of Parents and Friends of the John F. Kennedy School offers opportunities for parents to be involved with the school and to meet Berlin officials involved in supporting bilingual education.


Germany's fifth largest city and most important transportation hub, Frankfurt am Main is Land Hessen's giant urban center (the Land capital is nearby at Wiesbaden). The population is about 660,000 but the total metropolitan area includes many clustered towns and exceeds one million. The city is located on the Main River and is about 25 miles east of the river's confluence with the commercially important Rhine River at Mainz.

The new European Central Bank is headquartered in Frankfurt. The presence of this bank, perhaps 400 other financial institutions and over 800 American businesses make Frankfurt one of Europe's most important commercial and financial marketplaces. The Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Center (Messeglande) is one of the principal sites in the world for trade events, including the well-known Motor Show and International Book Fair.

The cosmopolitan nature of Frankfurt is reflected in its major airport complex with regular non-stop flights to virtually all regional cities, including cities in Europe and beyond, as well as daily flights to various destinations in the U.S. Approximately 90 airlines from nearly as many countries use the Frankfurt Main Airport.

Frankfurt is proud of its long and distinguished history. It has been a center for trade and banking for some 700 years. Until Prussia assumed control in 1866, the Free City of Frankfurt was, for 400 years, the site of the election of the Holy Roman Emperor. The "Romer" is the traditional symbol of Frankfurt. This historic building in downtown Frankfurt has been the city

hall since 1405. Frankfurt has long and illustrious ties with the New World-early visitors to Frankfurt included such distinguished Americans as William Penn, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

More detailed information about the city of Frankfurt can be found on the Internet, at English-language sites such as:

One of Germany's most important newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, has an excellent German-language site at:


Americans normally use German shops and markets as well. These are amply stocked with excellent fresh produce, dairy products and baked goods and a different mix of local and imported items, often at surprisingly moderate prices. Most fruits and vegetables can be found throughout the year, although prices rise for imported, out-of-season goods. Ethnic food and ingredients-particularly Asian and Middle Eastern-are easier to find in Frankfurt than at most other German cities.


Frankfurt can often be overcast but its location along the Main River generally helps moderate the temperature extremes. Since the temperatures have been historically relatively mild in the summer months, few German facilities are air-conditioned but this is changing as new office buildings are constructed and others renovated. The frequency of misty or rainy weather also prompts the regular use of umbrellas. Winters can be quite cold but snow seldom accumulates.

Because Frankfurt is Germany's financial capital, dress tends to be "banker conservative," although many contemporary designers are represented in trendy Frankfurt wardrobes. Local stores offer a full range of clothing in European sizes. Prices tend to be more expensive than U.S. department store standards.


The Carl Schurz School, located in the Siedlung area, provides a pre-school for children aged two-four, and a day-care facility.

Parents with school-age family members have a number of choices in educational facilities. All students receive an education allowance, which will cover tuition and fees to schools listed here. Any costs exceeding the approved educational allowances, however, must be paid by the parents. For example, costs for field trips associated with the school's program will normally be the responsibility of the parent. To obtain additional information regarding the schools, please write to:

Frankfurt International School (FIS) An der Waldlust 15, D-61440 Oberursel.

International School of Frankfurt Albert-Blank-Strasse 50 D-65931 Frankfurt am Main.

Halvorsen-Tunner American School (DoDDS-elementary) Rhein-Main Air Base, Bldg 610, Gateway Gardens 60549 Frankfurt.

H. Arnold High School (DoDDS) Texas Strasse Geb. 190, 65189 Wiesbaden/Hainerberg.

The DoDDS High School is accredited by the North Central Association; the FIS High School by the Middle States Association and the European Council of International Schools; the ISF school is a Sabis affiliated school and is not yet U.S. accredited. All schools offer athletic and extracurricular activities throughout the school year.

Special Educational Opportunities

In addition to full-time university studies in Mannheim, the European program of the University of Maryland offers a variety of evening classes at the local U.S. military facilities. The Education Center at Rhein Main Air Base may be contacted to answer questions concerning costs and requirements. There are also classes offered through the City Colleges of Chicago, Troy State University, and the University of Oklahoma.


Other sports including golf and swimming are locally available. Professional sports in Frankfurt include soccer, basketball and a professional American football team, the Frankfurt Galaxy, sponsored in part by the National Football League, with regular games in the European league.


Opera, ballet, concerts, music recitals and theater are available in Frankfurt and nearby Wiesbaden. Additionally, Frankfurt boasts excellent English-language theater with regular productions in the heart of the city. First-run movies in English are also available at several theaters in addition to movie theaters at U.S. military installations, including a popular theater at the Rhein-Main Air Base area known as Gateway Gardens.

Social Activities

The American Women's Club of the Taunus is a particularly active organization with special programs and events.


Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany (1.7 million inhabitants) is best known for its port. That image, however, is only a small part of a city that, for most Americans, is one of the best-kept secrets in Europe. Built around the Alster, a lake that is the size of Monaco, the city is graced with large open spaces (half the area is either water or parkland), elegant architecture and a thriving cultural life. Hamburg has the highest per-capita income of any region in the European Union, and the city is noted for stylish boutiques as well as a large and varied selection of fine restaurants.

The relatively modern look of Hamburg belies its age. In 1189, Hamburg was granted the right to a free trade zone and, in 1321, joined the Hanseatic League. Because of wood construction, the city was repeatedly destroyed by fires, the latest being in 1842. In the last decades of the 19th century, Hamburg underwent a building boom and the city took on its current outline by adding port areas, parks, and beautiful buildings and homes constructed in Jugendstil architecture. During World War II, over sixty percent of Hamburg was destroyed. The city rebuilt many architectural treasures while maintaining a low skyline of new buildings of brick, steel and glass that reflect the city's maritime tradition.

Trade is still the backbone of Hamburg's prosperity. The city boasts the second largest port in Europe and the fifth largest container port in the world, despite the fact that ships must travel 68 miles down the Elbe River to reach the North Sea. In addition, the city is a center for media (print, TV, and multi-media), insurance and aerospace (it has the second largest number of workers in the aircraft industry after Seattle).

The weather in Hamburg is generally rainy and can be quite cool. Spring is lovely, with blooming tulips, daffodils and other flowers around the Alster and parks. Hamburgers take advantage of all sunny days (sometimes they are few) and can be found walking or having coffee or a beer at an outdoor cafe. Sweater-weather is common even in the summer although, on the occasional hot day, the weather can be humid and sticky. Winter days are frequently overcast, with temperatures similar to Washington but with the north German darkness approaching by 4:00 p.m.


Almost all foodstuffs are available on the local market. There are many types of markets ranging from small mom-and-pop stores to large hyper-markets to open-air markets. German food quality and sanitation standards are extremely high. In general, most food items can be more expensive and a few baking ingredients and some processed foods may be more difficult to find; however, this is changing monthly.

Supplies and Services

Well-stocked German stores sell all European-style household items and are generally well made, but can be more expensive. Stores are generally open from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., with the larger stores open until 8:00 p.m. during the week. Saturday hours are from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. On Sundays, all stores are closed except those located at train and gas stations.

All normal services are available on the local economy in Hamburg although prices and, in some cases, quality may differ from U.S. standards. A variety of Internet Service Providers (ISP) exist, such as Compu Serve, AOL, UUNET and Deutsche Telekom's T OnLine, for local Internet connections. Prices tend to be more expensive than in the U.S. Local phone

Religious Activities

English-language services are held at the Lutheran Petrikirche, International Baptist Church, the English Church of St. Thomas a Becket, the Methodist Church, St. Elisabeth Roman Catholic Church, International Christian Fellowship and the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. Orthodox services are also available, but not in English. There is one Orthodox Jewish synagogue (services are in Hebrew and German.) There is a large Muslim community with several Mosques.


Most school-age American family members attend the International School of Hamburg (ISH), which is situated in the western section of the city, about 45 minutes from the city center of Hamburg. This is the only school in Hamburg in which the principal language of instruction is English. The school is divided into two sections, the Early Learning Center/Junior School (equivalent to preschool through grade 5 in the U.S.) and the Secondary School (grades 6 to 12). ISH is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and as well, offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program. All students are tested before official acceptance. Children must be at least five years old by October 1 to enter the ISH kindergarten program.

There are 520 students representing 45 nationalities. Classes are generally small, from 14 to 20 students. Music, art and drama classes are offered; however, sport programs are not as comprehensive as in an American public school. The school is in the process of a major expansion program that should be completed by 2000.

The school arranges bus transportation to and from the ISH campus for children in kindergarten through grade 5 who live in the downtown area. Secondary students are not offered this option, but public transportation, the norm, is quite convenient and safe.

Special needs education: Certain opportunities exist for students with special needs at ISH and are considered on a case-by-case analysis every year. Contact the school in advance for more details.

For further information or applications for ISH, the address is: The International School of Hamburg Holmbrook 20, 22605 Hamburg, Germany Tel: (40) 8830010, Fax: (40) 88300199. E-mail: mail to: [email protected]

German public and private schools accept foreign students, but instruction is in German. There is also a French Lycee for those interested in the French school system. There are many good German kindergartens (equivalent of American preschool), but waiting lists may be long for some of these kindergartens.

Special Educational Opportunities

Four different universities in the area offer a variety of degree programs in English. Rice University in collaboration with the University of Bremen and the City of Bremen is establishing an international, private, research university in Bremen that will grant undergraduate and graduate degrees similar to U.S. universities. Purdue University in collaboration with the State of Lower Saxony is establishing a private business school in Hannover and will offer MBA degree programs. The University of Hamburg is establishing an International Center for Advanced Studies, which will offer an international MBA degree program. The Technical University of Hamburg-Hamburg offers Bachelor and Master degree programs in engineering.


Hamburgers are quite serious about sport and exercise, and because of this, Hamburg has a wonderful selection of sports and sport facilities. Swimming is available year-around, with exceptionally nice, inexpensive and numerous indoor swimming pools. In the winter, there are several popular outdoor ice-skating rinks. The centrally located Alster Lake and many miles of intertwining canals offer wonderful opportunities for rowing and sailing in the summer, with a number of rowing, sailing and windsurfing schools available. Tennis and horseback riding are also very popular and many schools can be found in the area.

Hamburg abounds with playgrounds and parks. The Alster Lake, beautiful open areas and woods in the vicinity offer opportunities for walking and picnics. A pleasant way to discover the city and the surrounding countryside is by bicycle. Hamburg has an extensive system of bike paths, which make most of the city easily accessible by bicycle.


As a major European city, Hamburg provides something for everyone, from the prestigious opera and ballet to its many museums, from the Harbor Birthday to a night out on the world-famous Reeperbahn. The Hamburg State Opera is considered one of the world's leading opera houses and is the oldest in Germany. The Hamburg Ballet is world class and has been under the direction of an American since 1973. Three important orchestras are based in Hamburg. Jazz music enthusiasts will not be disappointed; the city offers year-round quality entertainment. Hamburg has some 30 theaters that are considered among the best in Germany. The English Theater group presents plays several times a year with professional actors recruited from London. The Hamburg Players, an amateur theater group, also presents plays in English. In German cinemas, most films are dubbed into German, but "original version" English language films are shown at more than one city location. There are several video stores with a large selection of current and classic English language videos. Most are in the PAL format, with a few in NTSC. For up-to-date information in English on events in Hamburg, see the Internet site

Social Activities

There are eight American-related clubs in Hamburg, which cover a wide range of interests such as social contacts, business networking, volunteer activities, and current events.

Again, there are a number of international clubs that hold meetings and lectures and conduct activities to promote international understanding and friendship through the English language. The International School is an important venue for international contacts for those with school age children. There are also numerous activities of the Consular Corps, depending on one's rank and function.


Situated in the center of the former GDR's industrial triangle, famous for its chemicals, steel, heavy engineering, and publishing, Leipzig has a proud heritage as home to the world's first and longest-running trade fair, more than 825 years old. An impressive fairground facility, between downtown Leipzig and the Leipzig-Halle Airport, was opened in April 1996. Banking, communications, and the service sector have largely replaced heavy manufacturing since German reunification.

Although Leipzig still bears scars of neglect and mismanagement, first at the hands of the Nazis and later under the yoke of the Communists, thousands of buildings have been restored or renovated, new construction abounds, and the infrastructure is on its way to becoming state-of-the-art. Eastern Germany already has the finest telephone system in Europe, and thousands of miles of roads have been widened, repaired, or replaced in the last ten years.

Leipzig's citizens played a primary role in toppling the Communist regime, demonstrating bravery en masse with peaceful demonstrations that sealed the end of the GDR in the fall of 1989. Throughout the Consular District, the United States, its people and policies, remain a source of considerable interest and curiosity; countless sister-city relationships, exchange programs, economic partnerships, and the like have been created in the past decade, and many more are in the planning stages. Additional information about Leipzig in English and German can be found on the Internet at

The climate in Leipzig is moderate, although each summer there are generally several days above 90°F and each winter temperatures go down below zero E Rain is frequent (average 20-30 inches annually), and it generally snows several times each winter.


Local markets are well-stocked with all types of food items. Store hours are limited; most shops close at 6 p.m. on weekdays and shortly after noon on Saturdays, and are closed Sundays, although by law stores may remain open until 8 p.m. week-days and 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Neighborhood markets are augmented by large discount retailers located in newly built shopping malls, as well as the Leipzig Central Station, where stores are exceptionally permitted to remain open until 10 p.m.

Leipzig as well as other major cities in the district offers a wide variety of excellent restaurants, ranging from Saxon specialties to Italian and Asian delicacies. Fast food outlets abound. Prices are notably higher than in the Washington, D.C. area.


A car is certainly not indispensable, though a few tourist sites are not accessible by public transport. At present many highways are in the process of being widened or rebuilt, causing extensive traffic jams, accidents, and other delays. Train travel is frequent and with a rail pass (Bahncard) relatively inexpensive. Traveling by train not only eliminates the headaches of negotiating traffic, but is also substantially faster. Within Leipzig buses, streetcars, and taxis are accessible and relatively inexpensive. Bus or streetcar tickets are generally obtained from machines (located at only the major stops) before boarding, although they may also be purchased from the conductor at a higher price. Taxis operate from several stands in the center, or may be called by telephone. For motorists, well-established car dealers and workshops offer a full range of services. vehicles.


Standards for street and business dress are similar to those in Washington, D.C. Formal attire is rarely required. For most evening functions, a dark suit or cocktail dress usually suffices. Given the variable climate, a flexible wardrobe is useful. Given the large number of cobblestoned streets, several good pairs of walking shoes are advisable. Raingear and umbrellas get frequent use most of the year. Prices in local stores are high in comparison to the United States, and local stocks may be limited. However, gaps in local supply may be filled by shopping trips to Berlin, a two-hour drive.

Religious Activities

Regular Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Russian Orthodox, and Jewish religious services are offered in German by various congregations in Leipzig. A British pastor offers English-language services at the Anglican Church in Leipzig on an irregular basis.

Supplies and Services

A wide array of toiletries, cosmetics, and household products is available in Leipzig. Although all American brands are not represented, in nearly all cases there is an adequate alternative. Prices are, however, higher.

Dry cleaning services are of variable quality. Hairdressers are generally very good. Most repair services are more than adequate.


Leipzig International School currently offers classes from Kindergarten through Grade 9 in English, based on a U.S. curriculum. The school intends to add one grade per year as part of the International Baccalaureate Program.

Special Educational Opportunities

Leipzig has University, Music Academy, Art Institute, and Volkshochschule (adult education institution) courses for those with German-language ability. Leipzig University is one of the oldest Germans peaking universities. The French, British, and Polish governments also have active cultural centers in town.


The Leipzig region offers opportunities for exploration of the area's rich cultural and historical heritage and is blessed with extensive parklands. Recreational facilities include swimming pools, bowling alleys, and fitness centers. Horseback riding is available nearby. Saxony's Erzgebirge offer opportunities for winter sports as does Thuringia's Rennsteig.


Cultural opportunities in this part of Germany are particularly extensive. Leipzig's world-famous Gewandhaus Orchestra and innovative Opera perform most of the year, augmented by guest performances in the Gewandhaus's first class philharmonic hall. Other theaters include Leipzig's Schauspielhaus and the Musikalische Komedie, which offer a wide variety of drama. Leipzig's Kabaretts, well-known throughout the German speaking world, serve up a special brand of biting political humor. The region is also home to no fewer than eight other opera companies within a two-hour radius, including Dresden's world-famous Semperoper. Dresden's Zwinger complex offers an Old Masters art collection to rival the leading collections in Western Europe, and the nearby Albertinum houses the treasures of the "Grunes Gewolbe." Weimar, the European Cultural Capital in 1999, is the home of the Goethe and Schiller houses and a splendid "Schloss" decorated in the Classical style, and Eisenach's Wartburg is the medieval castle whose "Singers' War" was made popular by Wagner's opera Tannhauser.

Local movie theaters offer recent releases, generally dubbed into German. Leipzig hosts several museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, located in temporary quarters while a new facility is built, the Grassi Ethnographic and Decorative Arts Museum, Egyptian Museum, and several collections covering the historic Battle of Nations, scene of Napoleon's defeat in 1813. Travelling exhibits are often displayed in the various institutions.

Leipzig's traditional Christmas Market sets the tone for Holiday activities, while Dresden's Strietzelmarkt is the oldest Christmas market in Germany. The region is home to a number of festivals and celebrations, many related to its rich musical history.

Leipzig's nightlife revolves around various bars and discotheques, as well as Moritzbastei, a university-associated club, offers space for some 1,000 revelers in deep underground caverns.


Munich, capital of Bavaria and a metropolis of almost 1.3 million people, is the dominant commercial, travel, and political center of southern Germany. It attracts numerous conventions, meetings, fairs, and exhibits with a broad range of economic activities. Munich is also one of the world's outstanding cultural and entertainment centers. Its excellent theaters, museums, and galleries present unending high-quality cultural performances and exhibits, while the traditional Bavarian love of fun sustains a wide variety of festivals, atmospheric nightspots, and entertainment. It is a dynamic city with a multitude of recreational and intellectual possibilities.

Munich is Germany's third largest city, after Berlin and Hamburg. The city long ago outgrew its medieval walls, leaving a well-defined inner city, or downtown area. Munich is also Germany's fastest-growing major city. Expansion continues at a fast pace with construction of new suburbs and U-bahn lines. Part of this growth is due to Bavaria's drive to become the electronics, information sciences, aerospace, biotechnology, and media center of Germany.

Munich is about 1,600 feet above sea level on the southern edge of a flat plain stretching from the foothills of the Alps, about 25 miles away, north to the Danube River. The Isar River flows through eastern Munich on its way to join the Danube.

The climate is like that in the northern U.S. Winters are cold but not severe. Temperatures rarely fall below 0°F, and 2-3 feet of snow may blanket the ground in January and February. In spring and fall, pleasant, clear, warm weather is interspersed with prolonged stretches of rain and cloudiness. Temperate summers are short with a fair amount of rain.

Individuals interested in further information about Munich and Bavaria should also look at the following websites:


German food stores offer a wide variety of food items of excellent quality, but the current dollar/mark ratio has made local shopping expensive. The sidewalk fruit and vegetable stands have beautiful, fresh produce, and the large open-air market, the "Viktualienmarkt," just behind the Marienplatz, offers almost any fresh food you can imagine, but at a high price.

Munich has Italian and Oriental food stores.


Clothing needed is like that worn in the northeastern U.S. During July and August, heavier weight summer clothes are needed. Only be a few days are over 90°F, and even then, evenings cool off. Both men and women are comfortable working in suits or lightweight wool dresses for the women. Most entertaining in Munich is informal, and a business suit or dress is appropriate. Due to Munich's frequent rainfall, bring a raincoat, preferably one with a removable liner, and suitable footwear. Boots are a must for the winter.

Munich is a fashion center; beautiful and well-made clothing can be purchased here. U.S. retail outlets such as Eddie Bauer are gaining a foothold in the Munich area. However, clothing of similar quality to U.S. items is frequently more expensive in Germany. Sales are conducted only twice a year.

Supplies and Services

Bring a sufficient supply of special toiletries, cosmetics, and over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Some favorite products, such as liquid aspirin/Tylenol for children, are unavailable locally.

Electronic items, such as calculators, computers, fax machines, microwave ovens, TVs and VCRs, stereos, etc., are available, but prices are sometimes higher than in the U.S.

All the normal necessities for comfortable living are readily available in Munich on the local economy. These include tailors, shoe and watch repair, laundry and dry cleaners, photo developing, small appliance repair, picture framing, and bicycle repair. Barbershops and beauty shops are in every neighborhood, and unless you frequent the most exclusive and expensive shops in the downtown area, prices will be comparable to those in the U.S.

Finding English-language reading materials will require some effort, at least until you gain a familiarity with the city. The closest U.S. library and bookstores are at least an hour's drive from Munich. The International Herald Tribune is available locally at some newsstands.

A locally published English-language magazine called Munich Found is very helpful in providing information and events in Munich and where to find certain things. Larger bookstores carry some English-language books and magazines, but the selections and supply are somewhat limited and are more expensive than in the U.S. Kiosks at the main train station carry a wide range of English-language newspapers and periodicals.

There are a number of Internet providers in Munich, including Compu Serve, AOL and Deutsche Telekom's T-Online.

Domestic Help

Few families have domestic help, but such help is available on a daily basis. Domestic services are, however, hard to find and quite expensive. Consequently, when a good house cleaner is found, many families will arrange to share his or her services.

Religious Activities

English-language services in downtown Munich are held by the following churches: Seventh-Day Adventist, Baptist, Christian Science, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Methodists and the Munich International Church (interdenominational). The American Church of the Ascension, (Episcopal) holds regular Sunday and Sunday School services in Harlaching. The University chapel and St. Killian's Church also hold Sunday masses in English.


The Munich International School (MIS) is an accredited and well-respected English-language school located in the southern outskirts of Munich. The Bavarian International School (BIS) is a new school located north of Munich, near the international airport.

The Munich International School is operating at its full capacity of almost 800 students in kindergarten through grade 12. The school has more applications for admission than places available, and this situation is expected to continue for some time.

The Bavarian International School (BIS) is located in the northern part of Munich. BIS has the backing of the Munich business community, the international community, and the Bavarian Ministry of Education and Culture. BIS is currently offering grades kindergarten (age four) through grade 12 to 300 students. BIS has its own Board of Directors that meets regularly with the MIS Board. BIS and MIS work together in a cooperative agreement to assure consistency of administration and curriculum for both schools.

Children with physical, emotional, or learning disabilities cannot be accommodate at present by the international schools.

German elementary schools with free tuition, in each section of the city, are open to American children. These schools may be extremely crowded, however, and the ratio of students to teachers is high. Children normally attend only half-day and have several; hours of homework. Older children sometimes enter German secondary schools, but language may be a barrier. Many German kindergartens accept American children, but they are also crowded and frequently have a long waiting list.

Special Educational Opportunities

The University of Munich, the largest in Germany, offers numerous courses. To enter, you must have an excellent knowledge of the German language and have already completed two years at a U.S. college. A German course for foreigners is taught only to those who have completed two years at a U.S. college. The nearest U.S. affiliated academic facility is a four-year branch of the University of Maryland in Schwaebisch Gemuend, approximately 200 kilometers from Munich.


Bavaria is a sports paradise. World-renowned German, Austrian, and Swiss ski resorts are within easy reach of Munich. Many resorts feature learn-to-ski weeks. Several Munich sport shops sponsor ski weeks at popular resorts, as well as special ski plans which provide transportation and instruction at a different slope each weekend. Most large sport shops rent ski equipment. The Munich International Ski Club organizes both day trips and longer trips throughout the ski season for its members.

Munich has three large public ice skating rinks, many large outdoor swimming pools and several larger indoor swimming pools. Several golf courses are also available, but greens fees are very expensive and many are operated by private clubs requiring membership. Horseback riding enthusiasts use several riding clubs.

The 1972 Olympic facilities give Munich the opportunity to host frequent international sporting events, e.g., equestrian competitions, soccer matches, and cycling competitions. Racing is also a popular spectator sport.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Walking tours through Munich are popular. From various observation towers you can see the city and as far as the Alps. Many old churches are interesting to visit. Numerous art galleries and museums are free or charge only a small entrance fee. The Deutsche Museum is the world's largest technical museum. Several large castles in and around Munich are well worth a visit. Many miles of pleasant and scenic trails are in the Alpine regions and in the Isar Valley on the outskirts of Munich. Also in Munich are several parks. The largest is the English Garden. Trips to Munich's Botanical Garden and to its Hellabrunn Zoo, one of Europe's largest, are also available.

The nearness of the Alps and a host of interesting cities offer unlimited touring opportunities. Bavaria has more interesting museums, castles, and architectural monuments than you could visit in a 2-year tour. Perhaps the most impressive points of interest are the towering Alps of Upper Bavaria and the Austrian Tyrol, with world-famous spas and sports facilities. Skiing is particularly popular, but the beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, and colorful people offer year-round attractions.

Numerous interesting cities are within a few hours' drive; included are Nürnberg, Ulm, Innsbruck, Augsburg, Salzburg, Regensburg, and Bayreuth, site of the annual Wagner Music Festival. The so-called Romantic Road connects the 16th century walled towns of Dinkelsbuehl, Noerdlingen, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Eastern Austria, the Czech Republic, Northern Italy, and Switzerland are within a day's drive.

Bavaria is also an excellent hunting and fishing area. Game includes deer, boar, chamois, capercaille, black cock, hare, fox, pheasant, partridge, and duck. Streams are well stocked with trout, and there is some river char and pike fishing. German hunting and fishing licenses are required.


The large Bavarian State Opera House and about 20 theaters have nightly performances. Concert lovers will find the musical fare frequent, varied, and of outstanding quality.

Munich's world-renowned Oktoberfest, a combination carnival/beer festival, lasts about 2 weeks starting in mid-September. Fasching (carnival) begins in early January and ends on Shrove Tuesday. Munich is famous for its excellent beer, and the city features many beer halls. Europe's largest circus has its home in Munich and performs from Christmas until the end of March. Several theaters in downtown Munich feature recent English-language (usually American) films.

Social Activities

There are long-standing German-American clubs for men and women in the Munich community which combine social activities with charity work. The Columbus Society, a German-American society for all ages, offers a varied program of lectures, social gatherings, and outings. Membership is also available in international clubs such as the International Federation of Business Women, Zonta Club, Soroptomists Club and Lyceum Club.

Many opportunities for social contact with Germans are available, but initiative is required. Various sports, hobby clubs, and other social groups usually welcome German-speaking Americans. The Bavarian-American Center also sponsors exhibits, lectures, concerts, etc., during the year. These programs are well attended by Germans and offer a good opportunity to establish contacts with host-country nationals.


Stuttgart, the cultural and political capital of Baden-Wuerttemberg, has a population of slightly fewer than 600,000 people; adjoining suburbs contain over two million. The area is a vigorous and vibrant cultural and economic center, with high-tech industries such as automobiles, chemicals, electronics, and machine tools. The city, surrounded on three sides by low hills, retains an old-world Swabian charm in its modern downtown core as well as in its more traditional outlying districts. More than 30,000 U.S. military and dependents are stationed in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Major headquarters are located in Stuttgart and Heidelberg.

Land Baden-Wuerttemberg, which comprises the entire consular district, is an area of rolling hills and forests with a population of nearly 10 million and a yearly export trade of over $130 billion. In an area about the size of Switzerland (13,000 square miles) are such landmarks as the Black Forest, Swabian Alps, and the classical university towns of Heidelberg, Tuebingen, and Freiburg.

The climate is moderate, with mild summers averaging 60°F-70°F and winter temperatures slightly above freezing. Humidity is high, and the average annual rainfall is 20-30 inches.


German markets are well stocked with all types of food items. Store hours are restricted, with most shops closing at 6 pm on weekdays and early afternoon on Saturday. On the first Saturday of each month, stores remain open until 6 pm in winter and 4 pm in summer. Stores are also open Thursdays until 8:30 pm.


Bus, streetcar, and subway services are well developed, but do not conveniently serve the Stuttgart area.


Standards for street and formal dress in Stuttgart are becoming more casual. The variable climate makes a flexible wardrobe most useful. Prices for clothes in German stores are high, but twice-yearly sales provide high-quality items at bargain prices. Shoes for women and children have been difficult to find in the past.

Religious Activities

Regular English-language Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish religious services are held in Stuttgart under U.S. Army auspices. Monthly Anglican services are also available. German-language worship includes Lutheran Community, Catholic, Jewish, Church of Christ, Seventh-day Adventist, General Communion, and Latter-day Saints.


Dependent Education: Parents may send their children to German public schools free of charge. Waiting lists exist for day-care centers and private kindergartens (ages 3-6).

Special Educational Opportunities

Undergraduate work in various fields is offered by the University of Maryland at U.S. Army Education Centers. In addition, in fall 1992, the University of Maryland University College opened a 4-year program in Schwaebisch Gemuend. A 2-year graduate program for a master's degree in education is offered by Boston College, and other university degree programs are available.

Stuttgart has university, music academy, and art institute courses for those with German-language ability, and there is a film academy in Ludwigsburg. The French, Hungarian, and Italian Institutes offer lectures, concerts, films, and courses in French and Italian.

Numerous facilities exist for handicapped dependents, but specialized schools, such as those for the hearing or vision impaired, require fluency in German.


Hunting and fishing opportunities abound. Stuttgart and areas within 4 hours driving have an excellent range of sportsvolksmarching, horseback riding, ice-skating, swimming, bowling, tennis, golf, and cross-country and downhill skiing.


Entertainment and cultural events are abundant. Stuttgart's internationally acclaimed ballet and its opera company have performances throughout most of the year (with the exception of 2 months in late summer). Frequent concerts are given by the State Symphony and other orchestras and by various local groups. Stuttgart is, among other things, a jazz center. Various international artists and circuses also perform in Stuttgart during the year.

There are several museums, including artistic, ethnographic, and natural history collections. The expanded Stuttgart Staatsgalarie has attained international prominence. The Wuerttemburg Art Association offers periodic painting, sculpture, and graphic arts exhibits.

The annual fall harvest festival, a rival to the Munich Oktoberfest (which starts somewhat earlier and closes as Stuttgart's Volksfest gets into full swing) always attracts large crowds. Many towns have similar colorful festivals during the year centered around harvest time or historical events.

Downtown cinemas show many first run (several months after the U.S. opening) American and international films, dubbed in German. There are a few good theaters that occasionally show films in English or the original language.

There is a good downtown nightlife district, and one of the largest discos is located near the Trade Exhibition Center.

Social Activities

Several German-American groups are located in Stuttgart. Among these are the German-American Men's and Women's Clubs and the International Circle.


Düsseldorf is the capital of the German Land of North Rhine-Westphalia and a major political, commercial and cultural center. The city has a population of over 575,000 and the State, 17 million, about a quarter of Germany's total, making it one of Europe's most densely populated regions. The Ruhr is Europe's largest industrial region and Germany's principal producer of power for the entire nation. Today, the Ruhr's economy is more broadly based than ever before with less than five percent of the work force employed in the old coal and steel industries.

Dusseldorf is a large, cosmopolitan city with a flourishing arts community including opera, ballet, art galleries and concerts. The city has a sophisticated retail sector, including the famous Konigsallee of exclusive shops and chi-chi restaurants. It is also the seat of the German fashion industry. Dusseldorf is the site of some of the largest commercial fairs in Germany: the fairgrounds or Messeglande are near the city center and the international airport. The Düsseldorf Airport is Germany's third largest and is served by American carriers. For current connections to Diisseldorf, Government travelers should check with the travel office of their agencies or with a travel agency.

Located in the lower Rhine Valley, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg are all within a few hours' drive or train ride of Diisseldorf. The city and its suburbs are built on the valley floor and are rimmed by low hills to the south and west. The Rhine is a major commercial thoroughfare and Dusseldorf is a major inland port. Much of the city was destroyed during the Second World War and has been rebuilt in a modern style, although Diisseldorf boasts a large and diverting Altstadt or old town full of charming restaurants and specialty shops. The city has incorporated suburbs on the opposite bank of the river, which include large parks and greenbelts, and there are a number of parks in the Innenstadt or downtown. Further information on Dusseldorf is available from the Internet at or its German language companion,

The climate in Dusseldorf is similar to the northern Atlantic seaboard of the U.S. with more rain throughout the year and much cloud cover. Significant snowfalls are rare. Summers are short and cool, particularly when compared to Washington, D.C.

Food, Clothing, Supplies and Services

German groceries and markets offer a wide variety of good quality foods. Most communities have open-air or farmers' markets selling fresh produce, meat and dairy products. All types of clothing and footwear are available locally from a wide range of shops and department stores although prices may be higher than those encountered in the U.S.

Clothing needed is similar dress for the northeastern United States. Standard business attire is worn in the office. Most social events do not require formal dress although there are a few occasions where it is needed or appropriate (e.g. opera, holiday balls, etc.).

Domestic help is available although very expensive. It is often possible to use an American ATM card at German bank cash machines connected to the PLUS or CIRRUS networks. For convenience with bill paying and for receiving funds electronically, most Americans have local currency accounts with one or another of the German banks, which have numerous branches throughout the region.

Religious Activities

English language services are held at Anglican (Episcopal), Baptist, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches in the Düsseldorf area.


The International School of Düsseldorf has over 600 students in grades kindergarten through thirteen (postgraduate or international baccalaureate). Almost half the students are American; the next largest nationality is German, and the balance are from Britain, The Netherlands, Japan and other nations. The language of instruction is English. Other options include the German public schools, the Japanese international school or the French Lycee. Adult education in English is limited although some courses are available through university extension programs offered at nearby American military installations. There is no accredited international school in Cologne.


Participating sports opportunities include tennis, golf and ice-skating. There is an American professional football franchise in Dusseldorf-the Rheinfire-which has a regular spring season.

Social Activities

There is a large and active American community in Dusseldorf and NRW Many events are held under the aegis of an American Women's Club that has over a hundred members. The club hosts monthly lunches, a charity ball in December and a number of outings and tours. The American Chamber of Commerce is active in Dusseldorf as are a number of German-American friendship groups which host social and cultural events.


Bremen, dating from late in the 10th century, is one of the oldest and most interesting cities in Germany. It became a member of the Hanseatic League in 1358 and, from 1646, was one of Germany's free imperial cities.

The oldest and largest part of Bremenincluding what was the walled city of the Middle Ages, now marked by the former moatlies on the east bank of the Weser River. The area is an attractive park. A newer part of the city, Bremen-Neustadt, is on the west bank of the Weser. In addition, there are numerous suburban housing developments, including Neue Vahr, the largest of its type in Germany. The port and warehouse district lies to the north, along the banks of the Weser.

Bremen's position as a port has been long established, and it is today an important processing and distributing center for such products as coffee, wool, cotton, grain, and tobacco. Its industrial life has expanded greatly, and there are now several large shipyards, a growing electronics industry, a large and modern steel mill, and an important aircraft firm here. The population of the city is 674,000.

Bremen's cultural attractions include a number of museums, art galleries, theaters, an opera, libraries, fine old buildings of considerable architectural interest, and several parks. Among the latter is the large Bürgerpark, with exhibition grounds and congress halls.

Bremen's North Sea weather has a reputation worse than it deserves. On average, the temperature ranges from slightly above freezing in winter to the mid-60s in summer. In fall and winter, occasional prolonged periods of gray days are to be expected. For the rest of the year, however, the weather is tolerable to pleasant, although in the cooler range. Cloudless days are few, but many days are fine except for a short shower. Bremerhaven, 40 miles from Bremen and with a population around 150,000, was an important transoceanic passenger port, but with the decline of that trade, it has become specialized in container shipment. It is also the largest single fishing port on the European continent.

Bremen and the surrounding area provide adequate opportunities for sports and outdoor life. A country club, the Club zur Vahr, has two golf courses, tennis courts, and a swimming pool. Several tennis clubs, including one with three indoor courts, are available. Fees are reasonable. There is a large indoor swimming pool and a number of public outdoor pools in and near Bremen. However, the weather is seldom warm enough (by American standards) to make outdoor swimming enjoyable. Riding is available, using English saddles. Skiers may go to the Harz Mountains or farther south to the Alps. Excellent hunting for boar, deer, hare, and fowl is available within easy distance of the city.

Bremen has many good movie houses showing the latest American, as well as German and foreign, films. The latter, however, normally have German soundtracks.


Dresden, once the home of one of the world's most important collections of art, is the capital of Saxony. Situated on the Elbe River about 60 miles southeast of Leipzig, it is a manufacturing city of 518,000 residents, producing precision tools, optical instruments, and electrical equipment.

The city, called "Florence on the Elbe," was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War; 35,000 people perished in the bombing raids and the city was reduced to rubble. Dresden has since been rebuilt, with part of the inner city restored to its original character. Most of its fabulous works of art were kept safe during the incessant bombings, but a great number of them were taken to Russia; some were returned in 1955, and fabulous art treasures are once again accessible to the public. The city became part of the Soviet occupation zone in May 1945.

Dresden was originally a Slavic settlement (Drezdzane) in the 13th century. It has been occupied by Austrians and Prussians and, from the late 15th century until 1918, was the residence of the dukes of Saxony.

Generations of writers, poets, and musicians were attracted to Dresden at some time in their lives, among them Goethe, Schiller, Heinrich von Kleist, Dostoyevski, Ibsen, Bach, Handel, and a host of others.

The city is famous for its National Gallery, its museums, its university and scientific institutes, its music conservatory and opera course, the Zwinger Palace and Museum, the city halland for Dresden porcelain which, in reality, is produced in nearby Meissen.


Heidelberg, in the Land of Baden-Württemberg, is famous as the oldest university town in Germany. It is both a cultural center and a tourist attraction. Heidelberg escaped the bombing of World War II and is thus a combination of old and new, considered by many as the ideal German city to visit. Its most distinct disadvantage is its humid and overcast climate. It is neither very cold in winter nor very hot in summer.

Heidelberg's 15th-century castle, which draws thousands of visitors each weekend throughout the year, overlooks the old town and the Neckar River valley. Its most popular attraction, within the castle walls, is the Heidelberg Tun (Great Vat), a wine cask nearly 200 years old, with a 49,000-gallon capacity. The vat is a part of the city's folklore. Heidelberg itself has many interesting medieval buildings, and the cultural life generated by the university offers a wide variety of activities at reasonable prices. Concerts, theater, opera, and ballet are available at all times.

The University of Heidelberg dates from 1386, and probably is the country's most famous educational institution. Generations of scholars have added to its prestige throughout the centuries.

The recreational facilities in and around Heidelberg are good. In mild weather, there is broad opportunity for fishing, cycling, and swimming. When winter arrives, ski enthusiasts can find good areas in the Black Forest, which is only two to three hours away by car; if the weather is not cold enough there, the German, Swiss, or Austrian Alps can be reached in five to eight hours.

Nightclubs and restaurants are abundant for a city of Heidelberg's size. Many German movie houses are available, and the U.S. Army shows American films nightly in five area theaters.


The ancient city of Cologne (Köln) is the capital of the Rhineland and one of Germany's largest centers of population (937,500). Founded as a Roman town in 50 B.C., it became, through the ages, a medieval city of note, a center of arts and culture, and finally, a cosmopolitan city of tourism, industry, and commerce. It is situated majestically on the left bank of the Rhine (the right bank is mainly industrial), and the spires of its 11th-to 13th-century churches are dominated by that of the Dom (the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Mary), one of the most famous Gothic buildings in the world. Cologne was a religious and intellectual center during the Middle Ages.

There is a wealth of activity to attract the visitor to Cologne. Nine municipal and numerous other private museums are open to the public, and the Rhine Park and Tanzbrunnen (open air dancing area and fountain) remain popular tourist spots from year to year. Among the famous museums and galleries are the Kunsthalle (Municipal Art Gallery); the Roman-Germanic Museum, which recounts the history of the city; the Wallraf-Richartz Museum with its paintings by the old masters; and Ludwig Museum of contemporary and modern art.

Cologne offers opera, theater, concerts, fine hotels and restaurants, excellent shops, a zoo with 8,000 animals, an aquarium, and the ever-popular Rhine cable cars. Industry in the city encompasses cars, chemicals (eau de cologne, for example), pharmaceuticals, beer, marine engines, wire cable, paint, tools, and machines. Cologne has the largest broadcasting and television facilities in the Federal Republic.

The Amerika Haus of Cologne, at Aposteln-Kloster 13-15 in the city center, has been in operation for over 30 years.


Potsdam was the main residence of the Hohenzollerns under Friedrich the Great, the brilliant Prussian soldier and statesman whose philosophical and cultural leanings left a mark of refinement on the city. He built the Sans Souci Palace and developed the surrounding park lands during the mid-18th century; this and the enormous Neues Palais (new palace) are among the many showplaces in Potsdam today. Renovations are currently under way in these royal buildings.

The royal family of Prussia, later the imperial family of Germany, lived in this city, which became known as the home of Prussian militarism.

Potsdam is the capital of Brandenburg. It is situated on the Havel River, about 17 miles from Berlin, and is a manufacturing city for textiles, pharmaceuticals, and precision instruments. Its current population is about 135,000. Much of the German motion picture industry was developed in nearby Babelsberg. The studio is open year-round for tours and an adjacent theme park opened in 1991. Potsdam is the site of the Observatory of the University of Berlin and of Einstein Tower, an astrophysical observatory. In all, there are 21 colleges and technical schools in the area.

In 1945, the Potsdam Conference was held here by the Allied powers to implement the Yalta agreements for the administration of Germany. The Celcilianhof, a country residence built in 1913-15 by the son of the last German kaiser, was the conference site. It is now a hotel and museum.

The three gates of PotsdamNeuen, Hunters', and Brandenburgconstitute the restored remnants of the city wall. The main road, Klement Gottwald Allee, and more than 100 buildings along its length, also have been reconstructed in recent years, and the city is a popular tour destination.


Hanover is located on what was once the border between West and East Germany. It is the largest ferry port in Europe and Germany's most important Baltic port. Second in size only to Cologne among the cities of medieval Germany, it was a Hanseatic townit has a history dating back almost 900 years, and was known as the " Queen of Hansa." The Hansa was a union of North German merchants which, in the 14th century, became a league of cities offering defense of trading interests and commercial privileges, and which served as a court of jurisdiction. It was also a political power waging successful wars for economic aims. From 1926 to 1937, it enjoyed autonomy as a free city of Germany, and then was incorporated into the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein.

Among Lübeck's famous sons and honorary citizens are Thomas Mann, a Nobel Prize winner, and his brother Heinrich, also a writer; and Carl Jacob Burckhardt, Swiss historian who, as president of the International Red Cross during World War II, protected Lübeck by his negotiations to have the city declared a port of transshipment for Red Cross ships and a storage place for goods bound for Allied prisoners of war in German camps.

Lübeck has colleges of technical science, civil engineering, business administration, medicine, nursing, navigation, and music, and an institute of adult education.

The city's world-famous trademark is the Holsteintor (Holstein Gate), the best preserved town gate of the Middle Ages in Germany. The contours of the gate have become the distinguishing emblem of the town, and are shown on the 50 Deutsche Mark note of the German Bundes-bank, on postage stamps, and as a trademark symbol by commercial firms. Among the products on which the Holsteintor emblem is used is Lübecker marzipan, the sweet almond pastry exported throughout the world.

Lübeck is 17 minutes behind Central European time.


Hanover (in German, Hannover) is a city of 518,000 residents, located in the north central area of the country and is the regional capital of Lower Saxony. It is at the intersection of major highways and rail connections and is the site of the largest industrial fair in the world. It annually hosts exhibitions, conferences, and trade fairs, yet it maintains an atmosphere of culture and art with its many libraries, museums, and churches. Its beautiful Herrenhausen Gardens, formerly the summer home of Guelph princes, are now used for concerts and theater productions and for fireworks displays. One of the Herrenhausen gardens, the Grosser Garten, has been maintained in its original design for 250 years; another, the Berggarten, dating from 1666, has the largest collections of orchids and cacti in Europe.

The museums of Hanover include the Lower Saxony Regional Museum (art and natural and early history), the Hannover Art Museum (modern art); the Kestner, with its ancient exhibits, including a famous Egyptian collection; and the Wilhelm Busch Museum. There are four major libraries here, including a veterinary college and a medical college library, and churches of major denominations. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, conducts a service in English on Sunday mornings at 11:30.

Hanover has facilities for many sports. There are a stadium, an indoor arena, several swimming pools and saunas, tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course at Blauer See, horse racing and cycle tracks, and ice skating rinks.

The city is the home of the Volkswagenwerk Foundation, which promotes scientific research, and the Federal Institute for Geo-sciences and Natural Resources. Currently, the Roderbruck Scientific Research Center is being developed.

A special feature of Hanover's many municipal services is an emergency medical consultation center at Ärztehaus, Berliner Allee 20. (The telephone number is 3-49-46.)

A British-operated English-language elementary school, comparing favorably with American facilities, is available up to grade six. Several good German elementary, secondary, and technical schools are also within the city, and Hanover has an excellent university.

The city hosts 15 consulates and two foreign/cultural information centers, of which Amerika Haus is one. Amerika Haus maintains a library and coordinates a program of lectures, seminars, and cultural events.


Kassel, the urban center of the North Hesse region, is known internationally for its municipal art collection, which includes 17 Rembrandts. It is a city of theater and festivals, and its exhibition of contemporary art, the Documenta, held every four years (the next is scheduled for 1993), is world renowned. The city is also the home of the Grimm brothers of fairy-tale fame.

Kassel is a center for industry, notably transportation equipment, and sponsors research and technology in that field. It is also the economic capital of Hesse and, as such, is host to numerous conferences every year at the Stadthalle (municipal center).

One of Kassel's major attractions is the beautiful Wilhelmshöhe Palace, built at the end of the 18th century as a residence for Jérôme Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon. Under Jérôme Bonaparte, Kassel was the capital of the Kingdom of Westphalia from 1807 to 1813. The hillside park at Wilhelmshöhe, the great fountain and waterfalls, and the colossal statue of Hercules attract thousands of tourists each year from spring until autumn. The château remains open all year, although with limited tour hours during the Christmas season.

Other places of interest in Kassel include the Orangerie Palace in the city park; Löwenburg Castle at Wilhelmshöhe; Fredericianum, the oldest museum on the European continent (built by Simon Luis DuRy from 1769 to 1779); the Ottoneum/Museum of Natural Science, which was Germany's first permanent theater building (1604); the Grimm Museum; the world's only Museum of Wallpapers; the Regional Library, which houses the Hildebrandslied, the oldest surviving example of German poetry in written form (translated into 140 languages); and the Astrophysics Collection at the Hessian Regional Museum.

Sports and spa facilities are a major attraction in Kassel. The Kurhessen-Therme is a center for brine bathing therapy and is widely used by people from outside the North Hesse region as well as by local residents.

Kassel's population is 200,000. Its university, founded in 1971, has a student body of 9,500.


Nuremberg (Nürnberg), one of the great and historic German cities, is located in north-central Bavaria. In the 12th century it became, with Augsburg, a major crossroad on the commercial routes between Italy and Northern Europe; in the Middle Ages it flourished culturally as the center of the German Renaissance. Most of Nuremberg was severely damaged late in World War II because of the heavy production of military equipment in the city, but it has been rebuilt and is an important industrial center for products such as electrical equipment, chemicals, textiles, and precision instruments. Nuremberg also has large distilleries and breweries.

Students of 20th-century history will remember Nuremberg as the site of the International War Crimes Tribunal.

Much restoration has been accomplished in Nuremberg since World War II. There are many places of architectural and historic interest, such as the Schöner Brunnen (beautiful fountain), which dates from the 14th century; the medieval churches of Saints Sebaldus, Lorenz, and Jacob; Kaiserberg Castle; and the Germanic Museum, which is considered one of Germany's finest. The 15th-century Dürer house and the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) also are major attractions.

In a country renowned for its Christmas markets, perhaps none is more celebrated than Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt, with more than 2.5 million annual visitors.


Duisburg, one of Germany's "big twelve" cities, is the largest inland water port in Europe. An ancient town which was once a member of the Hanseatic League, Duisburg is now a major industrial city of North Rhine-Westphalia, situated northwest of Düsseldorf at the confluence of the Rhine and Ruhr Rivers. Duisburg was a powerful city during the Middle Ages, and much of its early history is reflected in the Niederrheinisches Museum collections.

In addition to having a central library and 34 district branches, Duisburg is the site of Germany's largest technical library. It is a center for congresses, exhibitions, and sports and cultural events, and boasts a beautiful theater on König-Heinrich Platz. Many of its old churches were restored after World War II, among them Salvatorkirche, which was built in the 14th century on the site of earlier houses of worship. Dreigiebehaus, the oldest extant dwelling house (1536) and the ruins of the ancient city wall, which now has a Jewish memorial, draw a constant stream of visitors.

Duisburg, with a population of 525,000, supports a good zoo, the Kaiserberg; the Wedan Sports Park; Sechs-Seen-Platte (Six Lakes), a large water sports and recreational area; and various other recreational facilities. Many visitors are particularly interested in exploring the exhibits at the German Island Shipping Museum at Duisburg-Ruhrort.

The educational facilities and health care institutions in Duisburg are excellent. There are 15 hospitals in the city.


Dortmund, another old Hanseatic town, is situated in the heart of the Ruhr district, about 50 minutes from Düsseldorf-Lohausen Airport. With a population of 587,000 in the district, Dortmund is the commercial and cultural capital of Westphalia. It is famous as a brewing center and annually processes six million hectoliters (about 634 million quarts) of its well known "Dortmunder" beer. The city has held brewing rights for more than 500 years, and its Kröne beer hall is older than the better known Hofbräuhaus in Munich.

This huge European canal port is also the home of many other industries and commercial ventures. Steel, textiles, machine tools, nitrogen, and chocolate factories employ many thousands of people. Dortmund is also an engineering center for industrial complexes. It has a university and both teaching and research institutes.

The libraries of Dortmund contain 545,000 volumes in 16 buildings and four mobile units. The volumes are housed in the Municipal Archives, the university library, the Institute for Press Research, and the unusual and interesting Institute for German and Foreign Working-Class Literature.

The new Museum of Natural Science is only one of the many museums and permanent exhibits in Dortmund. Others include the Museum for History of the Arts and Civilization, the Ostwall Museum of Modern Art, the Coin Exhibition, the Westphalian Schools Museum, and the Natural History and Electricity Museums.

The facilities for sports in Dortmund are extensive. Westfalenhall is the largest sports and all-purpose hall in Europe. There are pools, racing tracks, tennis courts, health and gymnastic centers, hockey rinks, and a number of other recreational areas. The Botanical Gardens, the German Rose Garden in Westphalia Park, and the zoo are popular spots for residents and visitors.

Dortmund has modern shops, theaters, and galleries, and also supports a philharmonic orchestra. Many hospitals and clinics serve the community.


Aachen, for seven centuries the coronation city of the Holy Roman Empire, is situated on the western border of the country, at the foot of the Eifel and the Ardennes plateaus. The Belgian, Dutch, and German frontiers meet at its gates. The city is known throughout the western world by its French name, Aixla-Chapelle, and is a place of history, culture, and flourishing economy.

Aachen is the city of Charlemagne (Charles the Great), and the cathedral with the famous Palatinate chapel is one of the most important cultural monuments in the world; Charlemagne's marble throne is housed in the upper chamber of the gallery. This revered emperor was buried here in the year 814. In Aachen's Rathaus (town hall) where, for centuries, German kings were crowned, replicas of the imperial crown jewels are on display for the hundreds of thousands of tourists who annually flock to the city to see the renowned Christian relics.

Ecclesiastical art treasures are a significant, but not exclusive, part of Aachen's distinction. Its Rheinisch-Westfälische Technical College, with more than 34,000 students, is one of the largest in Western Europe and hosts many international technical congresses. Concerts and theater are an important part of city life, and elegant shopping in this ancient town of cloth makers and pin manufacturers draws visitors from many countries. Eurogress Aachen, the congress center in the park, is a famous European meeting point, and the many historic inns, hotels, and charming restaurants give the city a cosmopolitan flavor.

Aachen's spa, Acquis Grani, was famous among Roman legionnaires for its healing powers, and today the spa is operated throughout the year with the most modern facilities. Other major attractions of this western German city include the Casino of Bad Aachen, the world riding championships in the Soers Arena, the annual fair in Kornelimünster and, of course, the art treasures in the Suermondt-Ludwig Museum and the Neue Gallerie, as well as those in the cathedral.

The population of Aachen is about 250,000.


Bochum, an industrial city of 432,000 in the Ruhr Valley, is 650 years old as a municipality, but its history covers more than a millennium. Throughout the centuries it has been beset by fire, pestilence, and foreign invasion and, in 1960, Bochum suffered a major coal crisis. It is now a center of diversified industry and, more important, the home of the Ruhr area's first university, the Ruhr-University of Bochum, on the hills above the river at Querenburg. This was the first institution of learning in the country to provide an office for the exchange of information between school and industry, and its medical training program with the area hospitals, known as the Bochum Model Scheme, is unique in Germany.

In spite of its industrial nature, Bochum has many historical and cultural attractions. The Old Parish Church of Stiepel, founded in 1008, still has the lower part of the tower and the remains of the walls near the choir, which were part of the first building. St. Gertrudis Deanery, with a 1000-year-old fort, is built on a foundation laid in the year 710. Two other historic houses of worship are St. Bartholomew Pilgrimage Chapel, known for its unique Renaissance door, and the Protestant Church of Gertrudisplatz, which was completed in 1763.

Within the city are the German Mining Museum; the Bochum Art Gallery and Museum; Haud Ken-made, a moated castle from the Middle Ages; the Grumbt Collection of musical instruments (at the castle), with valuable manuscripts and a local history exhibit; Bochum Observatory Planetarium; the Astronomical Observation Station; Institute for Space Research; Rhine-Ruhr Railway Museum; Wattenscheid-Helfs Hof (history museum); German Puppet Institute; a large central library and a reference library for patent specifications; the Music School of Bochum; and a famous school for actors, the West-fälische Schauspielschule.

Bochum also boasts a German Shakespeare Society, a symphony orchestra, an unusual number of gymnastics and sports clubs (284), a playhouse, a zoo, theaters, restaurants, and halls for meetings and conferences.

Local time in Bochum is 31 minutes behind Central European Time.


Augsburg, founded by Augustus in 15 B.C. as a Roman colony, lies on the Lech River in western Bavaria, about 30 miles from Munich. It is the principal city on the Romantic Road, the celebrated route through the historic German towns of the Middle Ages.

Augsburg was a commercial and textile center for northern and southern Europe in medieval times and today, with a population of more than 250,000, remains a major textile hub. It was the richest town on the continent during the 15th and 16th centuries; two of its wealthy families, the Fuggers and the Welsers, were famous and influential throughout the Western world. The merchant Fuggers built a social settlement, the Fuggerei, for the old and the poor which remains in modern times as a housing development still serving low-income families for the original annual rate. The paths winding through the Fuggerei show the care with which the settlement was planned and, even now, the ancient houses appear in good repair.

It was here at Augsburg in 1955 that the Augsburger Religionsfriede (religious peace treaty) was signed, settling the conflict caused by the Reformation between Catholic and Lutheran princes of the Holy Roman Empire. The city is rich in architectural treasures of that time, and of the centuries which preceded it. The cathedral, built in 995, houses relics of its era; stained glass from the 11th century, and a beautiful altarpiece by the elder Hans Holbein (1465-1524) are testimony today of the art that was produced in those times. St. Ulrich's Church, with its two towers honoring both the Catholic and Protestant religions, and the town hall (Rathaus) also are major attractions here, as is Maximilian Strasse, the Renaissance street which cuts through the city center. Near the Lech River are municipal botanical gardens and a zoo which keeps animals in a natural habitat.


Located in west-central Germany, BIELEFELD is the center of the Westphalian linen industry, which began in the 13th century. The city also manufactures bicycles, sewing machines, and tools. Bielefeld is situated 55 miles southwest of Hanover and has a population of about 300,000. Built in the 1200s and restored in the late 1800s, Sparrenberg Castle is now a museum.

Many of the city's historical churches and buildings were damaged during World War II.

BRUNSWICK (in German, Braunschweig) is the capital of Lower Saxony and was formerly the capital of the duchy of Brunswick. The city, with an estimated population of 255,000, is situated in central Germany, 34 miles southeast of Hanover. Industries include the manufacture of cameras, pianos, and automobiles. Brunswick was allegedly founded in 861, by Bruno, son of Ludolf, the Saxon duke. Historical buildings include St. Blasius Cathedral, built between 1173 and 1194, which contains the tomb of the duke of Saxony, Henry the Lion. A fortress built by him in 1175, the Dankwarderode, still stands.

CHEMNITZ , called Karl-Marx-Stadt during the Communist era, is an industrial city on the Chemnitz River at the foot of the Erzgebirge mountain range, some 40 miles southeast of Leipzig. Made a free imperial city in the year 1125, it became an early center of the textile industry after it was given the monopoly of bleaching in the mid-14th century. It also developed as a transportation hub, and as a center for chemical production and machinery. Chemnitz suffered heavy bomb damage in World War II. The city has approximately

302,000 residents. It is the site of the prestigious Technische Hochschule (polytechnic institute), founded in 1836; the library contains 588,000 volumes. A combined city/regional library is also located here.

DESSAU is 34 miles north of Leipzig and is an important railroad hub on the Berlin-Leipzig line. Industrially, the city is well developed, especially in the area of mechanical engineering. Dessau has a sugar refinery that processes the beets grown in the rich surrounding farmland. German settlers established Dessau some time during the 12th century, and it received a city charter in the early 13th century. The city has a population of approximately 105,000.

ERFURT , with a population of about 215,000, is situated approximately 60 miles from Halle, in the central-west region of the country. A major commercial city, Erfurt manufactures office equipment and typewriters. It is known for horticulture and seed growing; a horticulture show-ground and museum is located here. Erfurt flourished during the Middle Ages as the gathering place of merchants. In 1808, the city was the site of the famous meeting between Alexander I and Napoleon. The heads of the governments of East and West Germany held their first meeting here in 1970. Historical points of interest include the ancient Merchants' Bridge that crosses the Gera River, built in 1325; the Old University, where Martin Luther studied; the Augustinian monastery, which he entered; and the 18th-century, baroque-style Governor's Palace. The elegant homes of the late medieval and Renaissance periods display Erfurt's former wealth. One of Germany's oldest universities was founded here in the late 14th century.

Located about 57 miles directly north of Bonn, ESSEN is a city of 620,000 residents. It extends southward through lovely suburbs into the timbered hills above the Ruhr River, where the abbey church of Werden, founded around 800, stands. Since World War II, Essen has taken on a modern look and has traffic-free shopping streets. Relics of the ancient city include the Münster Church, built around 873. The city was established about 852 and housed a convent for noblewomen. Essen later developed as a result of coal mining and heavy industry in the area. The manufacture of plastics and consumer goods are among its industries today.

The city of GELSENKIRCHEN is located in western Germany, about 40 miles northeast of Cologne. As a result of the northward spread of Ruhr coal mining in the late 1800s, Gelsenkirchen changed from a small village into a large industrial city. After 1958, when coal production decreased, the city had to diversify its industries. Today, machine building, the clothing industry, and glass-making have become economic mainstays. There is a central shopping area, a zoo, a theater, an artists' area, and two racetracks here. Gelsenkirchen has an estimated population of 290,700.

Situated 10 miles south of Dortmund, HAGEN is on the northern fringe of the picture-perfect Sauer-land Hills. Like other cities in the region, Hagen grew with the expansion of Ruhr coal mining. It was chartered in 1746 and remained small until the late 1800s when industrialization began. Hagen suffered considerable damage during World War II but was quickly reestablished after 1945. Hagen's current population is 209,500.

The city of JENA is located less than 100 miles west of Dresden and about 25 miles east of Erfurt. It has an economy based on the glass and chemicals industries. Jena is known for its university, founded in 1554; and its optical works, founded by Carl Zeiss in 1846. Notable landmarks include the Zeiss planetarium, the late-Gothic style St. Michael's Church, the old university, and a 14th-century town hall. The current population in Jena is about 106,600.

KARLSRUHE (also spelled Carlsruhe) is situated in southwest Germany, just east of the Rhine River near the Black Forest. Formerly the capital of the grand duchy of Baden, the city currently is a retailing, transportation, and manufacturing center. The German Court of Justice (supreme court) and Constitutional Court are located here. Karlsruhe, founded in 1715, has a symmetrical fan of streets that extend south of its 16th-century palace, which is now a museum. The streets to the north of the palace, through its parks and gardens, mirror the others. Germany's first technical university, Fridericiana University, was founded here in 1825. Karlsruhe's population is about 268,700.

KIEL lies at the head of Kieler Förde, a deep inlet of the Baltic Sea, which forms the eastern terminus of the Kiel Canal. Kiel's location, about 56 miles north of Hamburg, offers a magnificent view of the water and passing vessels. The city has facilities for processing foods, especially fish; other industries include brewing and manufacturing electrical and electronic equipment. The Old Market, with traffic-free shopping streets, lies in the shadow of the medieval Church of St. Nicholas. The city has an estimated population of 250,000.

The city of KREFELD , whose population is 220,000, is situated less than 50 miles northwest of Bonn. The Rhine River lies eight miles west of the city. Chemicals, silk, steel products, and clothing are among Krefeld's manufactured goods. Protestant refugees, including Mennonites, introduced the silk industry here in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Situated 80 miles southwest of Berlin, MAGDEBURG is a transportation hub with a population of close to 290,500. The city's economic life revolves around the nearby lignite (brown coal) field in Saxony and the large potash deposits around Stassfurt. Magdeburg's port plays a major role in the engineering and shipbuilding industries. Founded in 805 by Charlemagne, the city became an archbishopric in 967. Magdeburg was a leader among the Hanseatic League cities but was practically destroyed in 1631 during the Thirty Years War. It regained its prominent status after becoming part of Prussia in 1814. During World War II, Magdeburg was a major industrial center. The Allies bombed the city repeatedly and finally took it on April 18-19, 1945.

MAINZ lies on the west bank of the Rhine River in southwest Germany. Frankfurt am Main is located 20 miles to the east. A port city, Mainz is also an industrial hub, producing chemicals, optical glass, and food products. Mainz was once the capital of Rome's Upper Germany Province. The Romans founded the city as a camp on the Rhine in 13 B.C. Mainz became a political and religious power, and was a free city after 1118. It remained influential until Napoleon dissolved the empire in 1806. Historical sites, most of which were damaged during World War II, include an 18th-century grand-ducal palace and an 11th-century cathedral. Johann Gutenberg, the printer-inventor, was born here in the late 1300s; the university named in his honor was founded in 1447. There is also a Gutenberg Museum in Mainz. The population here is about 185,000.

The port city of MANNHEIM lies on the east bank of the Rhine River, about 60 miles northwest of Stuttgart. Along with its twin city, Ludwigshafen, Mannheim is the country's second major inland port. The port area has grain elevators and facilities for petroleum storage and refining. There are excellent connections to other cities by water and rail. The city manufactures automobiles, electrical equipment, and farm machinery. Chartered in 1606, Mannheim was attacked and destroyed twice, first during the Thirty Years War, and then by the French. In the late 16th century Mannheim was the musical headquarters of Europe. The earliest plays of Friedrich von Schiller were performed here in the city's theater (built between 1776 and 1779). The city has a population of nearly 300,000.

Located in northwest Germany, about 80 miles northeast of Cologne, MÜNSTER is a distribution center for the area's grain and lumber. Dating from the year 805, Münster was originally named Mimigernaford; its current name was given in 1068. During the 13th and 14th centuries Münster was a dominant member in the Hanseatic League. The Peace of Westphalia, ending the Thirty Years War, was signed in Münster's town hall in 1648. Notable landmarks include a large 13th-century cathedral, a 14th-century town hall, and the Gothic Church of St. Lambert. Münster, whose population exceeds 273,000, has a museum of fine arts.

ROSTOCK lies on the Warnow River, just over 40 miles north of Schwerin. The current population here is about 254,000. Rostock is the country's largest port on the Baltic Sea. The city's industries include the manufacture of chemicals and diesel engines. Rostock was chartered in 1218, and in the 14th century it joined some 80 other German cities in forming the Hanseatic League to promote commerce. The University of Rostock was founded in 1419.

Situated on Lake Schwerin, about 60 miles east of Hamburg, SCHWERIN is a manufacturing city with a population of about 125,000. It manufactures cigarettes, food products, machinery, and ceramics. Settled by the Wends around 1018, Schwerin received its charter in 1161. It was the seat of a bishopric from 1167 to 1648. A 13th-century Gothic cathedral may be found here.

WIESBADEN , the capital of Land Hesse, is located in central Germany. It lies at an altitude of 500 feet at the southern base of the Taunus mountain range, 20 miles west of Frankfurt am Main. The population of Wiesbaden is 268,900; it is noted for its mineral springs and mild climate. Industries include the manufacture of pottery, boats, clocks, and paints. The city is a trading post for lumber, fruit, and vegetables. Rhine wines are produced from the nearby vineyards. The Celts founded Wiesbaden in the third century B.C.; it was a popular Roman spa. The city boasts a casino, a 19th-century palace, the Nassau State Library, and the Hessian State Theater. A U.S. military base and hospital is located in Wies-baden.

WUPPERTAL is situated in the western region of the country, 40 miles north of Bonn. Industrially, the city relies on its textile production, which includes velvet, silk, carpets, linen, and artificial fibers. It is also a major center for the production of rubber and pharmaceuticals. The vicinity around Wuppertal was settled between the 11th and 12th centuries. This city of 380,000 residents was heavily damaged during World War II.

Positioned 40 miles south of Leipzig, ZWICKAU is a city with many historical buildings. Probably established in 1118, it was a free imperial city from 1290 until 1323. At that time, it was overtaken by the mar-graves of Meissen. Notable buildings include St. Catherine's Church, begun in 1212 and rebuilt in late Gothic style; the city hall of the 15th century; the late Gothic Clothworkers' Hall, built in 1522-36; the Church of St. Mary, dedicated in 1118 and altered in the late Gothic, style in 1505-37, which contains a painting of Christ by Lucas Cranach the Elder; and the Oberstein Castle, built in 1565-85 and now a penitentiary. Zwickau today has an estimated population of 120,500, and an economy based on the nearby rich coal fields. The manufacturing of textiles, dyes, ceramics, and small automobiles also supports its residents. There is a technological institute located here. Zwickau was the birthplace of Robert Schumann, the composer.


Geography and Climate

Unified Germany comprises 16 states (Lander in the plural; singular: Land), of which three (Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg) are city-states. Berlin, with a population approaching four million, is surrounded by the State of Brandenburg, with the Brandenburg Land capital at Potsdam, a city that adjoins Berlin on the southwest. Bavaria is Germany's largest land. Germany's population exceeds 82 million and, with a total land area of only 137,800 square miles (slightly smaller than the State of Montana), the nation is one of the most densely populated and urbanized in Europe.

Germany has five distinct geographical areas and widely varying landscapes. From north to south these are: the flat north German lowlands; the hills and the low mountains of the Mittelgebirge; the west and south German plateaus and mountains (including the Black Forest, the Schwarzwald); the south German Alpine foothills and lake country; and the Bavarian Alps with the Zugspitze (Germany's highest mountain, 9,717 ft.) near Garmisch.

The most important rivers are the Rhine, the Weser, the Elbe, the Main, the Oder, and the Danube. The first three flow northward, emptying into the North Sea. The Main is a tributary of the Rhine. The Danube, starting as a spring in the beautiful, historic town of Donaueschingen in southwest Germany, flows east 1,725 miles to meet the Black Sea in Romania. Lake Constance (Bodensee), Germany's largest lake, lies at the border separating Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

Germany is in the Temperate Zone and enjoys frequent weather changes, sometimes daily. The country has four distinct seasons with rainfall frequent in most months, especially in the autumn. Winter temperatures and snowfall tend to be more extreme in the southern part of the country where the average elevation is higher, but even low-lying Berlin has snowfalls and winter temperatures which occasionally dip below 10°F. Summer temperatures are usually cooler than Washington, D.C., although short summer hot spells are common.


With a population totaling more than 80 million persons, Germany has one-quarter of the population of the European Union. It is the largest nation in Europe after Russia even though, in size, it is smaller than either France or Spain. Today, over 85 million people speak German as their mother tongue.

Many Americans call Germany home. There are thousands of U.S. military men and women including retirees, Government employees, representatives of U.S. businesses, academics and their family members throughout Germany. Relationships between Germans and Americans are generally very positive. Many older Germans remember the assistance provided by the U.S. Marshall Plan after World War II and the commitment and aid pro

vided by the Berlin Airlift in 1948. America's steadfast support of German democracy, especially during the crises of the Cold War, adds to the generally positive reputation of the U.S. in Germany. Many Germans travel or have traveled to the U.S. for business or pleasure and many learn English from the earliest years in school. English is a common second language, especially in the western parts of Germany, although some German-language ability is necessary everywhere for a rewarding living and cultural experience.


The chronology of German events since the end of the Second World War has been dramatic and extraordinarily eventful. After Germany's defeat, the country was occupied by the four Allied powers-the U.S., the U.K., France and the Soviet Union. In 1949, the zones under control of the three western nations united to become the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). In the same year, the eastern part of the country, under control of German Communist authorities and the Soviet Union, was declared a separate German State and became the GDR. On October 3, 1990, following the revolutionary changes of late 1989, the Federal Republic and the GDR joined to form a reunified Republic of Germany that extended the constitution and laws of the former West Germany to five new eastern States.

The city of Berlin, surrounded by East Germany, had a special status in the immediate postwar period and was under the military occupation of the four allies under a

By 1948, Soviet violation of Four-Power Agreements from the immediate post-war days increasingly had isolated their zone from those parts of Berlin occupied by the Western powers and the division of the city began to take shape. The Berlin airlift of food and supplies in 194849 was an Allied response to Soviet efforts to use their control of overland access to Berlin to force the Western powers from the city. The Berlin Wall, the infamous dividing line between East and West Berlin, went up almost overnight in August 1961 in an effort to stem the tide of East Germans departing for the West. The Wall remained in place as a physical and psychological barrier until November 1989 when, under the pressure of weeks of peaceful protests throughout the GDR and changes in Soviet policy, it suddenly collapsed along with the government that had built it. One year later, Germany was unified. In 1991, the German Parliament, the Bundestag, made the historic decision to move the German Government and Parliament back to Berlin from Bonn where it had been located in a "provisional capital" since 1949.

Public Institutions

Democracy in the Federal Republic of Germany is founded on the Grundgesetz (Basic Law), which came into force in May 1949. It provides for a parliamentary democracy and is protected by the Federal Constitutional Court. The constitution contains strong guarantees of individual rights for all. Matters requiring centralized direction, such as foreign policy, foreign trade, defense, and monetary policy, are reserved to the Federal Government. Parliament has two Chambers. The first Chamber of Parliament, the so-called "lower house," is the Bundestag, which normally comprises 656 members popularly elected every four years. The "upper house," the Bundesrat, is composed of 69 deputies appointed by the State or Land governments. This Chamber can approve or veto certain important legislation passed by the Bundestag.

Like the U.S., modern Germany is a highly decentralized nation. Each of the 16 States, or Lander, in the German republic has its own state government, with a Parliament and separate executive branch led by the head of government, the Minister-President. Education, social services, public order, and police are under Lander control. The ability of the Federal Government to affect Lander decisions in matters reserved to the states is quite limited, a feature of the German system of government deliberately created as a result of the experiences of the National Socialist period.

The Federal President, whose powers are mostly limited to ceremonial functions as head of state, is elected every five years by the Federal Convention, consisting of the members of the Bundestag and an equal number of members elected by the state legislatures. The Federal Chancellor, Germany's Prime Minister, is elected by a majority vote of the Bundestag for a four-year term corresponding to the life of the Bundestag. As chief executive, the Chancellor has a strong position in the German system of government. The Bundestag can remove the Federal Chancellor by electing a successor with an absolute majority of votes.

The largest national political parties are the Social Democratic Party (SPD), leaders of the governing coalition following Parliamentary elections in 1998, and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) which operates in tandem with the Christian Social Union (CSU) of Bavaria. The CDU governed Germany during the periods 1949-69 and 1982-98. Germany's "Greens;" a political party officially known as Alliance 90/The Greens, with roots in the environmental and left-wing movements of the seventies, entered government as junior coalition partner in 1998. The Free Democratic Party (FDP) is a small center-right party that has participated as a partner in most German governments since 1949, with the exception of the periods 1957-61, 196669 and after the 1998 elections. The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) is the successor political organization to the Communist Party which ruled in the former German Democratic Republic. It enjoys limited regional strength, particularly in some districts of Berlin and the states of the former GDR.

Arts, Science, and Education

Germany has a active and highly innovative theater culture, in both the large cities and smaller communities throughout the country. Theaters and acting companies are usually subsidized although more and more theatres are privatizing, especially in Berlin. Despite this financial dependence, theaters have great artistic freedom guaranteed by the German Basic Law.

For lovers of the visual arts, almost every city maintains art exhibitions and private galleries. Germany has more than 3,000 museums, of which 500 are concentrated in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most heavily populated of the Lander. There are outstanding art museums in Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Kassel, Stuttgart, and Wiesbaden. The most extensive art collections in the care of a local authority are found in the city of Cologne, including the Wallraf Rich-artz Museum and the Ludwig Museum of Modern Art. The latter institution contains one of the largest collections of American modern art outside the U.S. Cologne also enjoys a global reputation as a sales center for contemporary art. Every five years, the city of Kassel, in the state of Hesse, hosts the largest festival of modern art in the world. Meanwhile, Berlin is also experiencing a revival in the arts and is seeking to establish the Berlin Biennial as a major international show and marketplace.

Foreign artists are frequently involved in German cultural events. Almost every German opera house has American singers under contract. Several German orchestras have an American conductor, and many have American musicians. Every year major American orchestras and dance companies perform under commercial auspices in Germany, touring several cities. American artists are represented in all major museums, exhibits, and galleries around the country. German-language productions of American plays and musicals are frequently part of the repertoire of German theater companies.

As in the U.S., where education is a State and local function, education in Germany is largely the responsibility of the Lander. The Lander coordinate their educational policies through the "Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs " (Kulturministerkonferenz). The Federal Government can legislate on vocational training and regulations governing the basic principles of higher education and research, and, as in the U.S., it provides important subsidies in these areas.

As an industrial nation lacking raw materials, Germany sees high standards of education and high levels of productivity as essential to the quality of life of its citizens. Although there are many regional variations in educational patterns and changes under way, certain basic practices remain as the German educational model. Compulsory schooling begins at age six and lasts nine years (in some Lander, 10). As in most European countries, Germany relies on early testing and the track system to select students for vocational training leading to skilled employment or further academic study culminating in the university. Most children are tested at age 10. Options include placement in a Hauptschule or Realschule-vocational high schools or in a Gymnasium, an academic high school. In some Lander there are comprehensive schools called Gesamtschulen. After completion of their compulsory schooling, students may qualify for higher-level specialized vocational training at a Fachöberschule, after which admission to a polytechnic university is possible. The Gymnasium leads to the award of the highly-prized "Abitur," a certificate received after successfully passing stringent tests at the conclusion of the 13th year. (Most eastern Lander give the Abitur after only 12 years.) The Abitur degree is required for university entrance. The comprehensive school embraces all these tracks.

There are nearly two million students at institutions of higher education in Germany. There are over 200 advanced institutions of several kinds (universities and technical universities, polytechnic universities, comprehensive universities, teacher training colleges, and fine art colleges). Numerous adult education centers (Volkshochschulen) also offer an attractive spectrum of subjects for personal enrichment.

Study courses at the 70 universities are divided into basic studies (Grundstudium) and specialized studies (Hauptstudium). Basic studies culminate in an intermediate examination or Vordiplom (usually after four or five semesters) and specialized studies in the Diplom or State Examination (after eight or more semesters, depending on the field). American students with two years of full-time college study may be admitted to German universities if they have the required language proficiency. Students with combined SAT scores above 1,300 may sometimes be admitted with less U.S. college credit. Admission requirements for doctoral and other advanced programs vary. There is limited access to the medical fields.

Education in Germany, including university education, is free of charge for all students, including foreigners.

Commerce and Industry

The Federal Republic of Germany is one of the world's leading economic powers. In terms of overall economic performance, Germany is Europe's major industrial nation, the world's third largest industrial country (after the U.S. and Japan) and the world's second largest exporting country. Its per capita income is higher than the U.S. and second only to Japan. Principal German industries include automobiles and other road vehicles, chemicals, machinery, electrical goods, iron, steel, and coal. Germany imports food, raw materials, textiles, oil, natural gas, and various manufactured goods.

International trade is crucial to the German economy and the nation enjoys a steadily increasing trade surplus of almost $60 billion. Principal exports are motor vehicles, machinery, chemical products and electrical engineering products. In percentage terms, over 70 percent of Germany's trade is with European Union nations. The U.S. is Germany's third largest export partner, behind France and the U.K. At the same time, the U.S. is the fourth largest importer to Germany.

The German labor market has had to cope with profound changes during the past decade and the rate of joblessness, especially in the eastern parts of the country, was a major issue in the election of 1998 that returned the Social Democrats to power. Since then, strategies and policies to stimulate the economy and create jobs have been at the forefront of government deliberations and public discussion. The problem remains most acute in the eastern parts of the country, the former GDR, where an unemployment rate more than 50 percent higher than in western Germany persists in a region with only one-quarter of Germany's population. About one-third of German workers belong to large, powerful trade unions that bargain collectively for wages and working conditions and commonly participate in industrial policy and managerial decisions. Pressures from continuing high unemployment, high labor costs, an aging population and costly social security/pension programs are forcing Germany to consider reform or restructuring of its labor market and social policies.



Germany requires a valid German driver's license. No one under age 18 is issued a German driver's license. You can get German and international licenses during registration if you present a valid driver's license either from the U.S. or another country with an appropriate translation into German. A U.S. license must be valid on application. Without a valid license, you have to attend a local driving school to obtain a German license. Tuition rates are high, around $730-$900. A passport-sized photograph is needed for both the German and the international drivers licenses.

A driver's license issued in the U.S. or any other country brought into Germany is not accepted in Germany unless you can prove that the applicant was a resident in the country where the driver's license was issued for six months or longer.


Germany's urban transportation system is generally excellent and consists of electric trains, streetcars, and buses. Subways or U-bahns are found in several cities including Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Cologne and Munich. All cities have superb taxi service. Taxi rates are relatively expensive and tipping is customary. Public transportation in Germany is easily accessible, clean, dependable, and safe, and is a common method of getting around cities.

As in other countries of continental Europe, Germans drive on the right-hand side of the road. City speed limits, unless otherwise posted, are usually 50 kilometers or 31 miles per hour; on State highways, 100 kilometers or 62 miles per hour. Sections of the German autobahns have no general speed limits for passenger cars, but certain stretches of roadway often will have posted limits that are strictly enforced by radar monitoring. Most emergency vehicles are painted off-white or red and white, with police vehicles painted green and white; emergency ambulances are lettered and numbered in orange or red. Fire vehicles are red.

The Berlin transport system consists of buses, trams, and U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains. There is excellent service to most parts of the city. A single adult fare (Einzelfahrschein) costs more than $2 in Berlin although a variety of special fares exists for regular users of public transportation.

The large metropolitan areas of Diisseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich are also served by excellent S-Bahn and UBahn systems along with buses and trams. Leipzig has no subway system although public transportation is excellent and is being modernized.


Germany's largest transport network is the federal railway system (Deutsche Balm AG) which was privatized and decentralized in 1994. More than 25,000 miles of track connect cities and towns throughout Germany and the system is constantly being upgraded and modernized. In addition to domestic high-speed intercity express service, German cities are connected to cities throughout Europe by frequent international express trains. Rail service between German cities, large and small, is excellent, and most European capitals, including London, can be easily reached within 24 hours. Rail fares in Germany are lower and rail usage much more common than in the U.S.

Due to its geographical position in the heart of Europe, Germany is a hub of European air traffic. Almost all major international airlines operate services to or within the Federal Republic. Frankfurt has the busiest international airport in Europe. Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Munich airports also accommodate international flights including direct flights to and from the United States. The Bonn/Cologne airport is a "feeder" for Frankfurt as well as an intra-Europe airport hub.

Only the United States has a more extensive network of highways than Germany. Because of its well-developed road system, Germany is an ideal country for automobile travel. Most people find a car desirable-sometimes for transportation to and from work-as well as for shopping and recreation. Express highways connect most major German cities, and secondary roads are usually excellent, so all parts of Germany are easily accessible by car.

International road signs are used everywhere in Germany. Drivers need to be familiar with these signs as well as with local driving rules, which are sometimes very different from U.S. driving customs. Parking regulations are rigorously enforced throughout the country and several different systems of paying parking charges may be encountered.


Telephone and Telegraph

Post and telecommunication services in Germany were reformed by a landmark 1995 law in response to European Union requirements and the enormous technical and marketplace changes occurring globally. Further changes resulting from deregulation are continuing. Telephone service in residences is now available through Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe's largest telecommunications company and the third largest in the world. The company traditionally enjoyed a monopoly on local telephone service in Germany. Telephone service is charged on a "per unit" basis of actual usage and tends to be slightly more expensive than U.S. phone service, especially for high-volume users although deregulation and competition are forcing rates lower. Rental and call charges are paid monthly. Itemized bills are now available. Direct long-distance dialing is available in all German cities to most places of the world. Dialing the U.S. from Germany costs much more than direct dialing from the U.S. to Germany. Collect calls from Germany to the U.S. are charged at U.S. rates. AT&T, Sprint, and MCI credit cards and callback services are currently used by many employees for U.S. calls at considerable savings although international long-distance rates are falling as more and more competition enters the communications marketplace.

Germany has an extensive cellular telephone network covering nearly the entire country and personal telephones are commonplace. Deutsche Telekom offers ISDN service to businesses and residences in most locations and the use of ISDN channels is growing fast. Installation fees and monthly service rates vary but are reasonable.

There are scores of Internet service providers (ISPs) in Germany, both local and national, including AOL and Compu Serve. Deutsche Telekom offers Internet connections through its T-Online service.

UUNET, an affiliate of MCI World Communications, also provides Internet access throughout Germany. Costs to connect to the Internet are somewhat higher than in the U.S. because, in addition to paying the service provider, users must pay for their local calls on a "per unit" basis.

U.S. telephones, including most cordless telephones, answering machines, and fax machines will operate in Germany although devices with internal clocks may run slow because of the difference in cycles in the electrical current.

Radio and TV

Germany has both government and commercial broadcasting. Radio and television in Germany are dominated by two major organizations, ARD, a national public broadcasting network combining eleven regional affiliates, each of which has a radio and a TV arm; and ZDF, Germany's national television broadcaster. The regional affiliates generate most of the programming for the main ARD channel, known in Germany as the "first channel." ZDF is the "second channel" and the regional affiliates, such as WDR or NDR, are the local "third channel." ARD affiliates and ZDF are neither purely commercial nor government-controlled broadcasters. They are independent corporations operating under public laws and controlled by boards whose members are selected by political parties, churches, labor unions, and other public groups. Television programming in Germany is supported both by viewer/listener fees and by commercials. All programs are produced or dubbed in German, including foreign programs and films. The public broadcasters usually favor a program mix more oriented towards news and documentaries.

The most important commercial television broadcasters include: RTL, SAT 1, RTL Plus, Pro 7, n-tv (the first all-news network in Germany), DSF (German Sports TV), RTL-2, and VOX (an "infotainment" channel). While the public companies broadcast on public frequencies, commercial companies rely mostly on the cable network and their programming emphasizes entertainment. Programs are interrupted by commercials. Households serviced by German cable networks can receive approximately 36 programs from Germany and neighboring countries. Satellite service is also available in Germany. English language television broadcasting such as BBC World, BBC Prime, CNN International,

CNBC and AFTN (Armed Forces Television Network) is available on many cable and satellite services.

Radio broadcasting in Germany is dominated by ARD affiliates. Virtually all of them broadcast on two or three frequencies. One channel typically concentrates on pop music and casually presented features and news. Other broadcasts are reserved for classical music, political magazines, educational programs, and radio plays. The number of commercial radio stations in Germany is growing constantly and there are nearly 200 private radio stations.

It is well-known that transmission standards differ for European and American television (PAL vs. American NTSC). European television sets will not operate in the U.S. and American television sets will not operate in Germany. Similarly, NTSC video products cannot be shown on PAL-only television sets. Multistandard sets are required to receive programs where American community cable television systems are operated. CB use by U.S. citizens in Germany is authorized, but it is more restricted than in the U.S. Licensing is obtainable from German civil telecommunications authorities. If turntables for LPs and/or reel-to-reel tape recorders are brought to Germany, remember that the electrical current here is 230v, 50 cycles. Although transformers will reduce voltage to 110v, the 50-cycle adjustment requires replacing the 60-cycle pulley for operation at the correct speed.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

Germany's Basic Law guarantees freedom of opinion and freedom of the press. There is no censorship. As a consequence of the strong position of a free press, Germany is as media rich as the U.S. In fact, in terms of the availability of news and information from other countries, Germany, like many other European countries, is far more news saturated than the U.S. There are, however, significant differences between the media in the two countries. Germany remains principally a newspaper-reading nation but the broadcast media are possibly even more influential in their ability to influence public opinion.

Regional newspapers, many with national circulation, play a larger role than in the U.S. and general newspaper readership far exceeds that of the U.S. A circulation of 200,000 is an average circulation for a German regional paper with even higher figures for several regional papers that circulate nationally. Large circulation newspapers in Germany include the tabloid Bild (Hamburg), Suddeutsche Zeitung (Munich), Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt) Rheinische Post (Diisseldorf), Leipziger Volkszeitung (Leipzig) and the influential Hamburg-based weekly Die Zeit. In Berlin, Berliner Zeitung is the daily with the largest circulation, followed by Berliner Morgen-post and Der Tagesspiegel. In addition to daily and weekly newspapers, about 9,000 periodicals of all sorts are published in Germany. Der Spiegel, a weekly news magazine with a circulation of over one million, is one of the largest. A typical well-educated German household might subscribe to a local paper, a national paper and a weekly news magazine. Many major papers and magazines are openly identified with particular political parties or political viewpoints.

Nearly 75 German newspapers are now on-line with Internet sites. One particularly good English-language site is: http://www.Berliner-Morgen-postde. Updated every two weeks, the site has translations of the newspaper's feature stories about Berlin, lots of the latest information about the city and links to many other useful Internet sites with important information about Germany. Another valuable site is:, the home of Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster, which features the news of Germany and the world in English and links to other Germany sites. Visitors may also subscribe to Deutsche Welle's daily English news summary via e-mail.

The German Press Agency (Deutsche Presse Agentur-DPA) is the leading German news agency, with offices worldwide. The leading U.S. news agency, Associated Press, also services German newspapers. The English-language International Herald Tribune, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal are available in most locations. European editions of Time and Newsweek are widely sold along with

daily editions of British newspapers. Bookstores in larger cities sell a limited number of English-language books, usually in British editions.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Excellent medical care is available in Germany. The approach to medical care, however, is different. A large number of physicians speak English.

Patients who have chronic medical problems requiring scheduled and unscheduled medical follow-up should plan to use local German physicians. Most local German hospitals provide 24-hour emergency care. German medical practice is often different from what is customary in the U.S. and not all hospitals can provide full English-language assistance.

Germany also has excellent medical and educational facilities for the mentally and physically handicapped, but all services are usually in German. English speaking facilities are scarce. Germany is not necessarily appropriate for all special needs children. Bills for German medical and dental care must be paid by the patient and then submitted to a health insurer. Dental and orthodontic care is available throughout Germany although standards may sometimes vary from U.S. standards. Charges for medical and dental care are standardized by the German Government and tend to be equivalent or somewhat higher than in the U.S.

Well-known German medical institutions include the Oskar Helene-Heim Orthopedic Hospital of the Free University of Berlin, the Waldfriede Community Hospital and the Benjamin Franklin Klinikum, one of Berlin's finest large university hospitals with a full service emergency room.

Dusseldorf: Excellent medical care is available from German providers in the Dusseldorf area.

Hamburg: The city and region have many competent and specialized German doctors and hospitals, many of which are internationally recognized and which provide excellent emergency and routine care. Generally, German doctors in Hamburg speak at least some English. The University Hospital of Hamburg-Eppendorf has a number of specialized clinics that treat illnesses and medical conditions of all kinds. For detailed information regarding this hospital, see their Internet site at

Leipzig: Local medical establishments capable of handling routine medical problems and emergencies. A number of local medical and dental facilities have reached West German standards, and Leipzig recently opened a state-of-the-art cardiac care facility, which is one of the leading such institutions in Germany. In addition, the Bundeswehr Krankenhaus offers high-quality treatment and the Diakonissen Hospital offers most medical services. American tourists and business officials have also received satisfactory emergency services from Leipzig University's clinics and quality dental care from local practitioners.

Munich: Excellent medical care is available from German physicians and German hospitals in the Munich area.

Community Health

Community sanitation and public cleanliness are similar to or exceed those incomparable American cities. Drinking water, dairy products, fresh vegetables, meats and other food products are under strict German Government control and meet the highest sanitation and health standards. In recent years, information about the health risks of smoking have reduced the prevalence of cigarette smoking in Germany. Smoking is not allowed, for example, on domestic airline flights and there are "no smoking" train compartments and "no smoking" rooms in many hotels. Still, few restaurants have smoke-free areas and smoking in public buildings and shops is common.


Passage, Customs and Duties

Frankfurt International Airport, continental Europe's largest airport, is the principal gateway city in Germany for international air connections. In many cases, other European cities may serve as convenient gateways to Germany and conform with travel rules. U.S. airlines serve many German cities directly from U.S. locations.

A passport is required. A visa is not required for tourist/business stays up to 90 days within the Schengen Group of countries, which includes Germany. Further information on entry, visa and passport requirements may be obtained from the German Embassy at 4645 Reservoir Road N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, telephone (202) 298-4000, or the German Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, or San Francisco; and on the Internet at Inquiries from outside the United States may be made to the nearest German embassy or consulate

Germany's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Germany of certain items such as firearms, military artifacts (particularly those pertaining to the Second World War), antiques, medications/pharmaceuticals and business equipment. Under German law it is also illegal to bring into or take out of Germany literature, music CDs, or other paraphernalia that glorifies fascism, the Nazi past or the former "Third Reich." It is advisable to contact the German Embassy in Washington or one of the German consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Americans living in Germany are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or any of the U.S. consulates and obtain updated information on travel and security within Germany. A new initiative of the American Embassy in Berlin allows all Americans in Germany to obtain automatic security updates and Public Announcements by e-mail. To subscribe to this service, simply send a blank e-mail to [email protected] and put the word "SUBSCRIBE" on the subject line. Individuals planning extended stays in Germany are encouraged to register in person at their local consular section.

U.S. Embassy in Berlin is located at: Neustaedtische Kirchstrasse 4-5; Tel: (49)(30) 238-5174 or 8305-0; the Consular Section is located at Clay-allee 170; Tel: (49)(30) 832-9233; Fax: (49)(30) 8305-1215.

U.S. Consulates General are located at:

Duesseldorf: Willi-Becker-Allee 10, Tel.: (49)(211)788-8927; Fax: (49)(211)788-8938.

Frankfurt: Siesmayerstrasse 21, Tel: (49)(69) 75350; Fax: (49)(69) 7535-2304.

Hamburg: Alsterufer 27/28, Tel: (49)(40) 4117-1351; Fax: (49)(40) 44-30-04.

Leipzig: Wilhelm-Seyfferth-Strasse 4, Tel: (49)(341) 213-8418; Fax: (49)(341) 21384-17 (emergency services only).

Munich: Koeniginstrasse 5, Tel: (49)(89) 2888-0; Fax: (49)(89) 280-9998.

There is also a U.S. consular agency in Bremen located at:

Bremen World Trade Center, Birkenstrasse 15, Tel: (49)(421) 301-5860; Fax: (49)(421)301-5861.

When calling another city from within Germany, dial a zero before the city code (for example, when calling Berlin from Munich, the city code for Berlin is 030).


Germany is a pet-loving country and dogs especially are familiar companions in all German cities. Dogs and cats imported from abroad must be accompanied by a valid health certificate and a certificate of vaccination against rabies. These certificates should be issued by an official veterinarian in the country of origin. The health certificate must state that the pet is in good health, free from contagious diseases, and that no cases of rabies had occurred within an area of 20 kilometers of where the pet had previously resided. Rabies certificates must certify that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry but not longer than one year before. Travelers should understand that animals may be refused entry if fewer than 30 days have passed since the rabies inoculation was administered. This health certificate itself should be less than ten days old when the pet arrives. The German Embassy in Washington provides a formal form for use when importing pets although experience has shown that officials at the entry port, particularly at Frankfurt International Airport, rarely demand the form when handling pets arriving from the U.S.

Animals without health certification may be admitted if they are found to be in good health after inspection by an official veterinarian at the airport and payment of the applicable veterinarian's fee. In the event that an animal thus imported becomes sick or dies within three months after importation, the owner must report the incident to the official veterinarian at the animal's place of domicile.

Birds of the parrot family and exotic animals are admitted only by special permission.

While walking your dog outside your own yard, it must be kept on a leash at all times. Canine varieties specified in German law as "dangerous" must wear a muzzle in addition to being leashed. Only in designated areas may dogs roam freely without running afoul of the law. German law also requires the removal by the dog owner of waste, when deposited on public property. Pet owners should plan to purchase inexpensive liability insurance available locally for pets, especially larger dogs. German pet owners typically carry such insurance. Excellent veterinary and dog grooming services are available everywhere in Germany. There is no heartworm (filaria) in Germany.

Animals sent by airfreight should arrive between 9:00 a.m. Monday and 5:00 p.m. Friday, since Customs offices are closed weekends and holidays. Travelers should carry the airway bill number to facilitate animal identification.

If you intend to walk a dog freely in Berlin, it is imperative to obtain the appropriate dog tax decal. House pets or dogs kept in one's own yard are not subject to this tax. documentation.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures

As a member of the European Community, the Austrian monetary unit is the Euro, which is divided into 100 cent. Coins in circulation are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cent and 1 & 2 euros. Bank notes are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros. The exchange rate approximates 1.15 euro to $1 US.

Although credit cards, are used throughout Germany, especially in hotels and restaurants, their use in retail shops is not as ubiquitous as in the U.S. Most payments in Germany are made in cash, personal checks in DM or via direct bank transfer. Personal checks drawn on U.S. banks are not accepted. Cash machines are available for use almost everywhere and most-but not all-provide cash withdrawals on credit cards. American ATM cards affiliated with major U.S. bankcard systems (such as the PLUS' or CIRRUS' networks) can be used at many bank cash machines.

In Germany, commodities are sold in liters for liquid volume and kilograms for dry weight. A gallon is 3.8 liters (one liter is 0.264 gallons) and a kilogram is 2.2 pounds. Measure of length is by meter, which equals 39.37 inches. Distances are measured in kilometers (eight kilometers are five miles) and speeds in kilometers per hour (80 kph equals 50 mph). Land measure is by hectares. One hectare is 2.47 acres.


Jan.1New Year's Day

Jan. 6Epiphany

Mar/Apr.Good Friday*


Mar/Apr.Easter Monday*

May 1Labor Day

May/JuneAscension Day*



May/JuneCorpus Christi Day*

Aug. 15Assumption Day

Oct. 3 Day of German Unity

Oct. 31 Reformation Day

Nov. 1All Saints' Day

Nov. 21Repentance Day

Dec. 25Christmas Day

Dec. 26Second Christmas Day



These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country.

Ash, Timothy Garton. The File: A Personal History. New York: Random House, 1997.

In Europe's Name: Germany and the Divided Continent. New York: Random House, 1993.

Blackbourn, David. The Long Nineteenth Century: A History of Germany, 1780-1918. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Friedrich, Otto. Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s. New York: Harper Perennial, 1995.

Germany: A Phaidon Cultural Guide. Prentice-Hall: 1985.

Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah. Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1996.

Kitchen, Martin. Cambridge Illustrated History: Germany. London: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Ladd, Brian. The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997.

Maier, Charles S. Dissolution: The Crisis of Communism and the End of East Germany. Princeton and New York: Princeton University Press, 1997.

Richie, Alexandra. Faust's Metropolis: A History of Berlin. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1998.

Shandley, Robert R. (ed.). Unwilling Germans? The Goldhagen Debate. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 1998.

Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960.

Taylor, Ronald. Berlin and its Culture: A Historical Portrait. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997.

Wise, Michael Z. Capital Dilemma: Germany's Search for a New Architecture of Democracy. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1998.

In addition to the U.S. Embassy's site ( and many other sites mentioned in this publication, two good starting points for Germany information are and The Internet site contains excellent information in English and German on all aspects of Germany today as well as links to current news from the Federal Government's Press and Information Office. In addition, a variety of topical and helpful Frequently Asked Questions on Germany can be found at


views updated May 18 2018


Basic Data
Official Country Name:Federal Republic of Germany
Language(s):German, Turkish
Literacy Rate:99%
Number of Primary Schools:17,892
Compulsory Schooling:12 years
Public Expenditure on Education:4.8%
Foreign Students in National Universities:165,977
Educational Enrollment:Primary: 3,859,490
 Secondary: 8,382,335
 Higher: 2,131,907
Educational Enrollment Rate:Primary: 104%
 Secondary: 104%
 Higher: 47%
Teachers:Primary: 224,517
 Secondary: 542,383
 Higher: 274,963
Student-Teacher Ratio:Primary: 17:1
Female Enrollment Rate:Primary: 104%
 Secondary: 103%
 Higher: 44%

History & Background

The Federal Republic of Germany, with its population of 80.8 million, lies at the heart of the European Union. It shares borders with nine neighboring countries and is a key member of the European Union. It is a densely populated country, with 230 residents per square kilometer, as compared to only 26 per square kilometer in the United States. Its 143,000 square miles (357,000 square kilometers) measure only 370 miles (640 kilometers) from west to east and about 500 (or 876 kilometers) from north to south. Because the country lacks natural resources, its highly educated workforce constitutes Germany's most important economic asset; thus, education and vocational training enjoy high prestige and financial and administrative support.

Germany's 780,000 teachers in 52,400 schools educate more than 12 million pupils. Over the past decade, the educational institutions of the Federal Republic of Germany have confronted the challenge of increasing numbers of immigrant children. The country's labor force is made up of 12 percent foreigners, and half of them are from Turkey. Approximately 7.4 million non-Germans live within the country's borders, and most of them in the West. In the 1990s the country experienced an influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Republics, many of them ethnic Germans, although not necessarily proficient in the German language. Because of Germany's citizenship laws, descendants of ethnic Germans may become citizens with relative ease, while those from non-German backgrounds may not, despite generations of residency in the country. As a result, these people, many of them Turks, often retain their own language and culture rather than seeking to assimilate; their presence has obliged schools to confront ethnic and religious diversity. In some urban schools in the West, the proportion of immigrant pupils may be as high as 70 percent.

German public education officially began in 1763, when Frederick the Great of Prussia mandated regular school attendance from the ages of 5 through 13 or 14. The denominational or confessional school remained the norm throughout Prussia (which encompassed the Rhineland and most of modern Germany) during the nineteenth century. Teachers often worked as sextons or church organists, and clergymen served as school inspectors. Catholic and Protestant (Lutheran) areas of Germany were geographically separate, facilitating religious oversight of local schools. In Prussia, efforts to establish schools in which Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish children could receive a common instruction, separated only for classes in religion, failed, despite several serious efforts at reform. In the cities, free, public schools educated children of the working class, while public schools, which charged some fees, attracted children of middle class families and offered a more rigorous curriculum. Women, in low numbers, entered the teaching profession in the late 1800s.

After the Napoleonic era, the responsibilities of the Gymnasium (a secondary school preparing boys for university admission) was expanded to include the preparation of civil servants, a task later assumed by the intermediate secondary schools. By 1900 the Gymnasium had developed three basic models providing for a specialization in the classical languages, modern languages, or mathematics and science. Girls were not admitted to the Gymnasium until 1908 and not admitted to Prussian universities until 1910.

In 1920 Germany introduced the four-year unified public elementary school that provided the same instruction to all children. School attendance until age 18 became compulsory. Another significant change was the requirement that even teachers in the elementary school must have passed the Abitur, the qualifying test for university admission. The basic types of schools in Germany before 1945 were the Volksschule (the four-year common elementary school), Mittelschule (the six-year middle school) which followed it, and the academically rigorous Gymnasium. While non-denominational schools prevailed in Bremen, Hamburg, Baden, Hesse, Saxony, and Thuringia, more than 90 percent of Prussian children attended a denominational school throughout the 1930s. The teaching of history and religion in Prussia aimed to fortify citizens' resistance to the doctrines of the Communists and Social Democrats.

Hitler's National Socialists abolished church-run primary schools. The post World War II influx of 12 million refugees, many of them expelled from German territories assigned to Poland, mixed religious boundaries and further weakened the churches' role in education. In the 1960s West Germany began to phase out small rural schools in favor of larger regional schools where children could be grouped according to age level. This movement effectively ended denominational distinctions in public schooling.

From the renaissance through the nineteenth century, religion played a role in higher education as well. Monasteries became centers of scholarship and learning. Early universities prepared men for the ministry or priesthood. Heidelberg, the first university on German soil, opened its doors in 1386, followed by the universities of Leipzig in 1409, and Rostock in 1419. During the early centuries of their existence, instruction at these universities occurred in Latin. Traditionally, German universities offered education in theology, law, philosophy (including the natural and social sciences and the humanities), and medicine. During the Hitler era, teachers and university faculty were required to swear a loyalty oath to National Socialism, and freedom of expression was sharply curtailed. About 300 Jewish university professors were driven out, causing a huge loss of scholarly, scientific, and intellectual capacity. Girls were discouraged from pursuing higher education and lost the gains they had made during the first twenty years of the century.

After World War II, the country was divided into the Federal Republic of Germany, consisting of the French, British, and American sectors in the West, and the German Democratic Republic in the east, which was under the dominance of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In the west, the Allies undertook a process of removing Nazi ideas from the country's schools. However, West German education did not undergo substantial reforms after World War II because the occupying powers had high respect for the German academic secondary school and universities. Moreover, the differing educational systems of France, Britain, and the United States made it impractical to apply any single new model in the western zone. Colleges of education founded after the war were denominational in character, and the teaching of religion was mandated in the 1949 Basic Law, or constitution, of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Gradually some modest changes made the system more democratic. One such change was the reducing or eliminating the cost of textbooks and school materials to parents and making six years of a common primary education, rather than only four, the norm. By and large, however, the chief features of early twentieth century education were retained through the 1950s: stratification with different types of schools, teachers, and pupils; the dual system of vocational training and general education; centralized decision-making at the state level; and the processes of grading and selection throughout the school system. In 1953 just 3.3 percent of any given age group earned the Abitur (the examination certifying satisfactory completion of the academic secondary school) or Gymnasium, entitling the graduate to university admission; 90 percent of those so qualified actually entered a university. However, because war veterans received preference for scarce study spaces in the country's war-damaged universities, girls stood a much poorer chance than males; only about half the female recipients of the Abitur actually continued on to university study. Only 6.1 percent of any age cohort completed the elementary school and six-year Realschule (an intermediate secondary school preparing civil servants and other administrative employees). The largest number, 63.3 percent, of any age cohort left full-time schooling around the age of 15 and continued with mandatory part-time education until 18, while working or participating in a vocational training program.

Twenty-four new universities sprang up in West Germany in the 1960s and 1970s, including the distancelearning center at Hagen established in 1975. In 1969 the federal government in Bonn assumed some authority over education, which had previously been entirely under the jurisdiction of the 11 federal states. The federal government increased uniformity and standardization in vocational training and the Abitur, the university admissions qualifying test.

In 1964 the Social Democratic Party questioned the adequacy of the West German educational system and, after lengthy inquiries, the German Parliament declared it to be in a state of emergency. Compared to similar European industrialized nations, relatively few German youth continued full-time schooling until 18, fewer German youth entered university study, and federal spending on education comprised a relatively small portion of the total national budget. The national investigations also found significant differences in educational opportunity and quality between regions. Some of these differences included class size, provisions for foreign language study, the supply of qualified teachers, and the numbers of school leavers attaining appropriate certificates or diplomas. Educational leaders warned of an anticipated shortfall of skilled workers able to adapt to new developments in technology. Their report recommended reducing the importance of parental status and social connections in decisions about children's secondary education and basing these decisions solely on children's abilities. The report also documented significant gender inequities in education: more girls than boys left full-time schooling at an early age, fewer continued into the Realschule or Gymnasium, and girls' choices of educational paths were most likely to be based on their fathers' occupations. Girls from rural areas, working-class backgrounds, and from Catholic families fared the worst.

The findings of this nationwide inquiry resulted in a number of significant reforms. A two-year orientation phase in grades five and six was introduced to give schoolchildren more time to consider future educational choices. The number of academic subjects required for the Abitur was reduced in 1960; in 1972, students were given the option of concentrating in a few specialized subjects. However, complaints from universities that this step weakened the general preparation of incoming students forced a partial rollback of Abitur reforms. The percentage of young people continuing their education into the Realschule, Gymnasium, or university doubled. However, these increases created a larger supply of better educated workers than the job market could fully absorb.

Further reforms had a more direct effect on the teaching profession. The role of pedagogy in teacher preparation was expanded, and the hours devoted to the study of teaching methods increased to about one-fourth of the total. From the mid-1970s through most of the 1980s, the country experienced an oversupply of teachers, and fewer new teachers were hired. A Federal Ministry of Education and Science, established in 1969, was combined in 1994 with the Ministry of Science and Technology. However, attempts to increase federal authority over planning and coordination disintegrated in the early 1970s, in part due to disagreements between the political parties. In general, the Social Democrats favored greater national oversight, while the more conservative Christian Democrats advocated state autonomy.

Reforms got underway in higher education as well. In 1971 the federal government began providing financial aid to students (which states had done since 1957) in an attempt to democratize higher education. Hochschulrahmengesetz (a law for the reform of higher education) passed in 1975 and was aimed at greater nationwide unification of this level of instruction. Fachhochschulen (new polytechnic schools) were introduced in the late 1960s and early 1970s. More comprehensive and technical universities were founded. Untenured professors and staff gained a voice in university governance, alongside senior professors who held university chairs. Critics demanded a more practical orientation for courses of university study in the mid-1970s, but effected little change in this area. And, despite objections, universities retained their emphasis on research over student-centered learning.

Nonetheless the balance between higher education and vocational training shifted between 1980 and 1990. In 1980 apprentices outnumbered university students two to one; however, a shortage of apprenticeships in the late 1980s motivated more adolescents to enter universities. By 1990 the number of university entrants surpassed the number of young people beginning an apprenticeship. University enrollment grew by about 75 percent between 1977 and 1992, but increases in faculty, staffing, and facilities failed to keep pace, resulting in serious over-crowding.

In 1981 only about 38 percent of those who actually enrolled in higher education were women (the proportion is 40 percent in West Germany in 2001). Women were still less likely than men to actually begin higher education, more apt to concentrate in the arts and humanities, and more likely to drop out of higher education. At the Fachhochschulen, women concentrated chiefly in traditionally female areas such as health professions and social work. Although significantly more young women began to enter apprenticeships, many completed only a two-year course, which was considered inferior to a full course of vocational training.

While the Federal Republic of Germany maintained many features of the system of education inherited from the Weimar Republic, the socialist German Democratic Republic created an entirely new educational system after World War II. The intention of this new educational system was to sever all connections between religion and schooling, eliminating differences between rural and urban areas, the educational opportunities for boys and girls, and social classes.

Schools in the Soviet zone of occupation re-opened in October of 1945. This was quite a feat, given that many school buildings had been damaged, teachers had been killed or displaced, and the region was forced to cope with the influx of ethnic Germans. Eliminating Nazi influence was carried out more rigorously than in the West: three-fourths of the teaching force was fired for having sworn the mandatory oath of loyalty to the National Socialists. Approximately 15,000 new teachers, young and hastily trained, entered the classroom in 1945. Almost 23 years later, 93 percent of the country's teachers had been trained since World War II. The replacement of such a large portion of the teaching profession gave the German Democratic Republic an opportunity to start anew.

Control over the educational system was centralized at the national level, with the Ministry of Education carrying out directives formulated in the Central Committee of the ruling Socialist Unity Party. The Ministry produced textbooks and detailed schedules for their use, including timed lesson plans. Deviation from this centralized curriculum was discouraged by the widespread fear of exposure for failing to promulgate the official doctrines of the socialist state.

A school reform in May 1946 eliminated the three-part secondary education system inherited from the Weimar Republic, which separated students into vocational, managerial, and academic tracks. Further reforms in 1958 and 1959 established 10 years of compulsory education in the polytechnic school, which all pupils attended, following a uniform curriculum, free of militaristic, racist, religious, or imperialist teachings. Pupils in grades 7 through 10 worked a few hours each week to become accustomed to industrial production and to develop solidarity with the working class.

Through the 1950s and early 1960s, East German educators furthered their efforts to utilize education to overturn social class. Achievements of the peasants and working class were highlighted in history, literature, and the social sciences. Children whose parents belonged to the worker and peasant classes received preference in admission to higher education, while those whose parents opposed the Socialist Unity Party might be denied access. Some offspring of white-collar professionals, the landed aristocracy, enemies of the socialist state, and some adherents of organized religion were sent into apprentice-ships and factories. Arbeiter- und Bauern-Fakultäten (special adult education courses), in existence from 1946 to 1962, were offered for workers, former soldiers, and returning political prisoners. About 25 percent of all university students entered higher education through this path. Gradually, the process of social and political selection was accomplished through polytechnic schools and the Freie Deutsche Jugend (socialist Free German Youth groups) present in every educational institution; the Arbeiter- und Bauern-Fakultäten were discontinued. Only about 12 percent of the country's pupils continued their education into the university, for the country's leaders guarded against the emergence of an over-educated, under-employed elite, which might foment a rebellion. Not everyone could accept the political restrictions on academic freedom. Between the country's founding in 1949 and the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, about 2,700 university faculty and 35,000 students moved west.

Nonetheless, the German Democratic Republic did introduce some more democratic elements into its educational system. Schoolbooks and materials were free for all pupils, in contrast to West Germany where the costs of such items as uniforms and school supplies sometimes kept poorer children out of the college-preparatory high school, the Gymnasium. From the first, East German schools were coeducational. A 1950 Law for the Promotion of Youth decreed that all children, regardless of gender, should receive the same education, vocational training, higher education, and access to sports. The school day was organized to provide childcare as well as instruction. Children ate a hot noonday meal at school and could remain in school through the late afternoon in the Schulhort, where teachers and assistants supervised homework, extra-curricular activities, and sports. All schools included Young Pioneer groups for children under the age of 14 and Free German Youth organizations for older children. While these groups have been depicted, since unification, as a means of political indoctrination, parents acknowledge that they also fostered group work and cooperation and gave children a certain grounding in civic responsibility. They also provided vacation lodgings and summer camps and sponsored a broad range of school and vacation activities. Although the original intent was to equalize education for all children, educators soon recognized the need for higher levels of instruction for those destined for college or university study. The Erweiterte Oberschule (extended secondary school) was introduced in 1960 to provide a three-year course of study beyond the polytechnic school and to prepare students for higher education.

Occupational choices were made in consultation with pupils, parents, school administrators, teachers, and local authorities. In general, pupils were encouraged to choose occupations projected to be needed in the country's economic five-year plans. In balance, however, workers who succeeded in their careers enjoyed a plethora of opportunities to retrain or qualify themselves for entirely different careers. The entire educational system emphasized practical work applications and a solid grounding in Marxism-Leninism, as well as mandatory instruction in Russian. In recompense, citizens were guaranteed life-long employment, a principle that became increasingly difficult to sustain as manufacturing and technology developed through the 1980s. Furthermore, it became evident that the country's educational system emphasized cooperation and productivity at the expense of inventiveness, critical thinking, analytical skills, and creativity. One drawback was a perpetual lag in the development of technological innovation, particularly in engineering and computer science.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the Federal Republic of Germany also introduced a number of reforms to broaden access to its educational system. The number of intermediate secondary schools designed to train managers, civil servants, and white-collar employees increased. New Fachschulen (secondary technical schools) were introduced. The numbers of college-preparatory secondary schools in rural areas increased. The new two-year orientation phase for fifth and sixth graders, which appeared in some states, provided more time for teachers and parents to assess whether schoolchildren could best further their education in the Hauptschule (general secondary school) and continue into a vocational school to learn a trade or enter the Realschule or Gymnasium.

Reunified in 1990, the Federal Republic of Germany in 2001 encompasses 16 federal states, 11 in the West (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Rhineland Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Lower Saxony, the Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein, and the 3 city-statesHamburg, Bremen, and Berlin) and 5 (the so-called new federal states of Thuringia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg, and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania) that formerly made up the German Democratic Republic. With unification, West German law became the law of the land and, thus, a massive restructuring of the East German educational system began. Beginning in the 1992-1993 school year, the West German multi-track system of schooling was introduced into the new federal states to replace the 10-year, homogenous polytechnic school. Retaining the egalitarian ideals of socialism, the new federal states created an educational system less stratified than that of the West; most offer a two-track model of secondary education rather than the tripartite division commonplace in the West. Saxony, for instance, uses the orientation phase in grades 5 and 6, and a Mittelschule (middle school) for grades 5 through 10, which combines both the Hauptschule and Realschule. Pupils can enter either of those institutions or the Gymnasium at the end of fourth, fifth, or sixth grade. Courses in Russian were no longer required, and Marxism-Leninism disappeared from the curriculum. Most teachers and university faculty in disciplines such as civics, social studies, history, economics, and political science (about one-fifth of the teaching corps) lost their positions. East Germany soon experienced a need for teachers of English rather than Russian. Rather than the 13 required in the West for a high school diploma, 12 remained the norm. Religious instruction was re-introduced, with some of the new federal states offering courses in ethics as an alternative to Lutheran or Catholic instruction.

Since unification in 1990, Germany's educational system has struggled with new challenges of unifying the radically different philosophies and structures of East and West, equalizing education for both sexes, and adapting a traditional educational system to the demands of a new technological age.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

Germany's constitution, which dates from 1949, guarantees all citizens free choice of schooling or a vocational training position, as well as the free choice of occupation. Article Seven of the Basic Law establishes joint federal and state supervision of educational institutions. The federal government establishes compulsory education, the organization of the educational system, the recognition of educational certification, and chiefly holds jurisdiction over higher education and vocational training. West Germany's states established the Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs in 1948. The five new East German states became members in 1990. This body, known by its German acronym, KMK (Kultusminister Konferenz ), facilitates greater standardization of schools and the mutual recognition of certificates awarded by vocational schools and comprehensive schools, and it lays down uniform requirements for the Abitur, the entrance examination for university admission. Particularly since the mid-1990s, the Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs has moved toward greater standardization, in part to ensure comparable qualifications of pupils who move from one state to another. Previously, school-children's qualifications would have been judged on the basis of the type of school they attended; now there is more uniformity in these basic subjects, regardless of whether they have attended the Hauptschule or Realschule.

States retain the chief responsibility for education. They establish general curriculum guidelines, which may specify how many periods of instruction are required at each grade level in each subject. State ministries of education also create a list of approved textbooks and other curriculum materials. In some states, such as Bavaria, there may also be a centralized, statewide Abitur, or other achievement testing at designated grade levels.

Local communities have jurisdiction over other aspects of schools and schooling, which are often determined by party dominance. Within municipalities, town or city councils administer schools directly; there are no independent school boards as there are in the United States. Citizens' voices are heard chiefly in the parents' councils attached to individual schools and school classrooms.

Germany's Basic Law also mandates religious instruction in schools, although children may opt not to take it once they reach 14 years. Usually they choose between Lutheran and Catholic instruction, but recent years have witnessed a trend toward more ecumenical instruction, particularly in the East, where courses in ethics (rather than a particular denomination) were introduced in the early 1990s.

Germany's political parties champion significantly different educational policies. The Christian Democrats and their Bavarian allies, the Christian Socialist Union, held power from 1982 to 1998 under the leadership of Helmut Kohl. These parties represent Germany's Catholics and Lutherans, who each comprise about 35 percent of the population. They argue that early and clearly delineated separation into the three tracks (Hauptschule, Realschule, and Gymnasium ) is necessary to maintain educational quality. The Social Democratic Party (in power from 1966 to 1969 and again since 1998) champions broader access to education and, therefore, advocates adoption of the Gesamtschule (comprehensive high school model) and two-year orientation phase in fifth and sixth grades, rather than separating pupils into prevocational tracks after fourth grade. The Free Democrats, a small swing party, advocate a 12-year path to the Abitur, private colleges, independent funding sources for education, and the teaching of tolerance and conflict resolution in schools. Since unification, two other small parties have entered the scene. The former East German Socialist Unity Party, known in 2001 as the Party of Democratic Socialism, wants to abolish the three-part division of secondary education and the providing for childcare through all-day schooling. East Germany's small revolutionary parties, which arose just before the opening of the Berlin Wall, have allied themselves with Alliance 90/the Greens. Like the Party of Democratic Socialism, they champion a single curriculum for all children through tenth grade. Furthermore, they want schools to teach ecological awareness and a stronger respect for diversity. They advocate mainstreaming children with disabilities and eliminating Sonderschulen (special schools) and reducing the pressures of grading and evaluation in schools.

Educational SystemOverview

School attendance is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 to 18. Full-time schooling is mandated for either 9 or 10 years (depending on state) and may be followed by part-time attendance at a vocational school, complemented by an apprenticeship. Parents may need to contribute to the cost of textbooks and other materials, depending on the income level of the family.

The school day runs from eight or nine o'clock in the morning until noon or one o'clock in the afternoon and is divided into 45 minute class periods. The school day grows longer as children progress through elementary school, but its length may vary with the day of the week. Children bring a snack to eat at recess, but most return home for a hot noonday meal, a schedule that makes it difficult for mothers to work a full day outside the home. Furthermore, a teacher's absence may result in children being sent home early, since the use of substitute teachers is quite rare. Teachers relinquish their free periods to fill in for absent colleagues, or children are simply sent home early. Few schools have a school nurse on the premises or even a cafeteria. School busses transport children in the countryside, but the majority ride public transportation, such as streetcars, municipal busses, or trains.

The school year averages 188 days and includes a week of vacation at Christmas, at Easter, and at Pentecost. Schools close for a six-week summer vacation; however, to reduce overcrowding on trains and the Autobahn as families depart for vacations, summer vacation dates are staggered throughout the 16 federal states. Saturday classes are still held two or three times a month in many states. The school week averages 26 to 35 hours, with children attending the Realschule or Gymnasium spending more hours per week in classes than do children at the Hauptschule (general secondary school).

Recently private schools have been growing in importance and, in 1996 and 1997, have educated approximately 600,000 pupils. Private schools are subject to supervision by state agencies to ensure that their facilities, teacher qualifications, and teaching objectives are comparable to those of public schools. They are expressly prohibited from segregating the children from richer families. Generally private schools are viewed not as elite; rather they are seen as innovative and less rigid in structure than public schools. Private institutions must be recognized by the state to administer examinations or to award certifications comparable to those granted by public schools. Those receiving state approval may draw as much as 98 percent of their budgets from public funding, since they help carry the burden of educating for the public good. In times of tight budgets, however, subsidies for private schools may be reduced and remain a topic of highly-charged political debate.

The largest number of private schools, around 1,100, are supported by the Catholic Church, and located chiefly in Bavaria, the Rhineland, or Baden-Württemberg. Most (43.6 percent) operate at the level of the Gymnasium. Private schools sponsored by the Protestant Church are fewer in number; because of church involvement in public schools and mandatory religious instruction, parents who want their children to be educated in the Christian tradition need not turn to private schools.

About one-tenth of all German private schools are special schools for the mentally or physically disabled. While the German Democratic Republic prohibited private schools and religious instruction, the churches did play a significant role in caring for people with disabilities and in special education. About 30 elementary schools following the model created by the Italian physician Maria Montessori also exist.

Because the German Democratic Republic did not permit private schools, there are fewer Montessori or Waldorf schools in the east than in the west. Approximately 13 percent of all children attending a private school are in Waldorf schools. Begun by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) in Stuttgart in 1919, the Waldorf movement presented an alternative to Germany's socially conservative, stratified school system. Germany's 100 Waldorf schools emphasize the arts and crafts and center around child development. The school day encompasses activities that alternate cognitive and rational exercises, imitative and practical activities, and creative or artistic functions. Eurhythmy, an essential component of the Waldorf curriculum, integrates physical development through movement, dance, recitation, and music. Little importance is attached to testing and formal grading, and children are not separated according to ability or future career path. In these schools, a single teacher usually accompanies the class for several years, creating lasting relationships with pupils.

Preprimary & Primary Education

Traditionally, the Federal Republic of Germany has not regarded kindergarten as part of the educational system, but rather as a private or familial responsibility. Many kindergartens are run by churches, businesses, municipalities, or private associations. Most offer instruction only in the morning. Attendance is voluntary, and parents are expected to pay part or all of the costs. In 1996 about two-thirds of all three- to six-year-olds attended kindergarten. Nursery schools are administered by state ministries of youth and social affairs rather than ministries of education. About 70 percent depend on some private funding. Private nursery schools receive some state funding, as well as state supervision.

While the German Democratic Republic considered childcare and early childhood education a state responsibility, the Federal Republic did not offer comprehensive free kindergarten placements until 1996; even then the demand exceeded the supply of available spaces. The problem disappeared, at least temporarily, due chiefly to the sharp decline in the East German birthrate between 1990 and 1994. In contrast to both American and East German kindergartens, the West German model emphasizes creative play rather than formal instruction.

At the age of six, children begin Grundschule (elementary school), typically holding colorful paper cones filled with candy and treats to assuage the pangs of leaving home to go to school. Children who turn six by June 30 must begin schooling in the fall, provided they are found physically and developmentally ready. For the first two years, teachers do not grade schoolwork, but instead provide evaluations of their pupils' strengths and weaknesses. In the upper grades, a numerical system is used: one means very good, two good, three satisfactory, four passing, and five not passing. The school week may be as short as 20 hours in the early grades, but it gradually increases in length. Pupils study German and mathematics every day, supplemented by two class periods per week in science, religion, physical education, and art or music. Some children begin foreign language instruction as early as third or fourth grade, not surprising, given Germany's borders with nine countries. By fifth grade virtually all pupils are learning a foreign language, even those planning to enter training for blue-collar trades. Often a lead teacher remains with one class for several years, teaching all subjects except physical education and religion. This arrangement is intended to foster close cooperation and trust and to minimize discipline problems.

The Grundschule lasts for six years in Berlin and Brandenburg and for four years in the other federal states. Since 1973 schools in some western states have included a two-year Orientierungsstufe (orientation phase) at the end of fourth grade; parents and teachers meet and begin a process of consultation and advisement through which the child's future educational path is determined, with a final decision made at the end of sixth grade. The Social Democratic Party champions the orientation phase, which is opposed by the Christian Democrats, who favor a stricter separation of pupils destined for each of the three secondary education tracks. Thus this two-year adjustment and advisement period is offered in some federal states (such as Hesse, Lower Saxony, Hamburg, and Bremen) but not others, depending on political party dominance.

Some states require a certain grade point average, particularly in German and math, for entrance into the college preparatory secondary school, the Gymnasium ; others use admissions tests. However, all base their decisions on teachers' recommendations as well as parents' wishes. Because children at the age of 11 or 12 have little basis for choosing a future career, their parents often play a decisive role and, in fact, have a legal right to choose their child's school, even against the recommendations of teachers. It is not uncommon for them to push children into a higher level school than teachers have recommended, perhaps to avoid a general secondary school with a high population of immigrant children, whose presence is assumed to lower the overall quality of instruction.

The general effect of this early division of pupils into three separate tracks is a somewhat conservative reinforcement of the status quo, in which children enter professions fairly closely resembling those of their parents in terms of educational level and socio-economic status. In general, the German educational system is geared toward producing competent, useful members of society. It is not the venue for a soul-searching process of independent self-discovery.

The Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) passed resolutions in 1994 establishing other responsibilities concerning schools and teaching. Children are to learn critical attitudes toward television and other media, whose excessive use is blamed for their lack of attention in school and the loss of connection to reality. It must be pointed out that West Germany has had private television channels only since 1985, and the German Democratic Republic had none, although most residents could receive West German television. Thus, the distrust of television's impact on children and its deleterious effects in schooling are more widespread than in the United States. On the other hand, these resolutions' statements about over-indulgence in computer games may reveal deep-seated distrust of the computer's potential as an educational tool and may work against the wider use of computers in the classroom. Primary schools are also charged with engendering in children an attachment to their homeland, tolerance, and allegiance to the European Union ideal.

Secondary Education

Upon completion of the Grundschule, about one-fourth of pupils enter the Hauptschule (secondary general school), where they study German, mathematics, the natural and social sciences, and a foreign language. After unification, the new East German states did not introduce the Hauptschule, preferring instead to combine the general and intermediate secondary schools as an alternative to the Gymnasium. The Saarland adopted this combined secondary school model in 1997. Some of these schools combining the Hauptschule and Realschule also exist in Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein and are known by various names: Mittelschule, Regelschule, and Sekundarschule. These developments may call into question the future existence of the Hauptschule.

In most West German states, the Hauptschule encompasses grades five through nine, but seven through nine in states where the orientation phase remains part of elementary school. Some of the general secondary schools end with ninth grade, some with tenth. Instruction in a foreign language has been required since 1969, and most pupils choose English, although those in border regions may choose French. The upper grades include some computer science and practical work courses. Throughout the past twenty years, the proportion of pupils entering the Hauptschule has declined as parents push their children into the more prestigious and more academically oriented Realschule and Gymnasium. After three to five years of a common curriculum, including German, civics, religion, and physical education, pupils completing the Hauptschule earn a Zeugnis mittlere Reife (school leaving certificate), which entitles them to enter an apprenticeship. There is no final examination. Those who have earned outstanding marks in the Hauptschule and who complete tenth grade may receive the school-leaving certificate normally awarded at the end of the Realschule. The dropout rate from the Hauptschule is around 9 percent. Successful graduates begin vocational apprenticeships in one of the country's recognized trades, which total around 400. Each year about 600,000 young people enter an apprenticeship. While completion of the Hauptschule served for decades as the gateway to an apprenticeship, in 2001 an equal number of beginning apprentices have completed the Realschule and around 15 percent have the Abitur. This transition has made it increasingly difficult for young people with only the Hauptschule certificate to compete for a training position.

Germany's vocational training system has enjoyed a high reputation based on its success in producing skilled craftsmen through the "dual system" of education. Hands-on practical training is supplemented by theoretical instruction in the Berufsschule (vocational school), where young people learn theoretical material two or three days a week. These schools usually specialize in one or more areas: industry, commerce, agriculture, home economics, or offer a mixed curriculum. Nearly 60 percent of class time in the vocational school is devoted to training and the remaining 40 percent to specialized subjects. Some discrepancies arise within this dual system because apprenticeships are shaped and supervised by chambers of handicrafts and trades, while vocational schools are administered by state ministries of education. Because the entry level qualification for these schools is the completion of 10 years of schooling, classes have become quite heterogeneous, enrolling graduates of special schools for the disabled as well as those who have earned the Abitur.

Students at the vocational school spend the remaining weekdays and their vacations as trainees in the workplace. This system depends upon close cooperation between educational administrators and private industries, which furnish these paid apprenticeships. This system grew out of medieval tradition: during the Middle Ages apprentices traveled from town to town, learning from several masters. Those who passed the first level were recognized as Geselle (journeymen) competent to practice their trade. Those who continued through further examinations and produced a Meisterstück (masterpiece) were entitled to hire and train apprentices of their own. Today, the examination at the end of vocational school is administered by employers and trainers as well as teachers and includes an oral examination. Those who pass it are then qualified as Facharbeiter (skilled workers). Many are then hired by the companies that have trained and observed them for the past two or three years.

The shortage of available apprenticeships that Germany experienced during the mid-1990s was overcome, in part, due to the country's low birthrate and pressure for children to enter the intermediate secondary school or the Gymnasium. Most children from immigrant families follow the educational path through the Hauptschule, vocational school, and apprenticeship. Today, however, the availability of apprenticeships is limited by the country's economic slump. About one third of all private firms offer apprenticeships, and 90 percent of these are small firms employing 50 people or fewer. Overall, about half a million firms now offer such placements.

Because of the system's dependence on industry to furnish apprenticeships, those in certain trades are frequently oriented either toward girls or toward boys. Thus around 55 percent of girls in the Berufsschule choose apprenticeships in just 10 trades. The most popular are doctor's assistant, retail sales, hairdresser, and office worker. Around 40 percent of boys train to become auto mechanics, electricians, industrial mechanics, or business specialists in wholesale or foreign trade. In this way the vocational training system would appear to reinforce, rather than break down, gender stereotyping in vocational choices.

Apprenticeships last for two to three years, with shorter training periods for high achievers or those who have passed the Abitur. Apprentices receive a small allowance that increases yearly. What they are taught is determined by federal ministries, based on recommendations from craft associations and trade unions, which thus exercise tight control over the quality of preparation for those entering their field. Apprentices completing their training undergo examinations by chambers of industry or chambers of crafts or trades.

The challenge of providing training in high tech fields assumed critical proportions in the 1990s. In August 2000, for instance, Germany authorized 20,000 new immigrants to enter the country on five-year work permits in order to fill the country's shortfall of skilled computer technicians and software engineers, careers unforeseen in the days of the medieval guild system which gave rise to the dual system of apprenticeships and vocational training.

Around 40 percent of pupils finishing the four or six-year elementary school enter the Realschule, which encompasses grades 5 through 10 and is designed to educate mid-level administrators, functionaries, employees in service or commercial sectors, and managers. The number of these intermediate secondary schools increased greatly during the 1950s. They enroll the broadest spectrum of social classes, particularly in rural areas. The Social Democratic Party traditionally supports these schools, and such initiatives as their combining with general secondary schools. This is now the case in most East German states and the Saarland.

The Realschule is viewed as a middle class institution, providing a strong grounding in mathematics, modern languages, and technical fields. German and math lessons fill four periods each per week; a foreign language (usually English), geography, physical education, and fine arts for two periods each a week; and science and history for one period each. About one-third of these pupils also study a second foreign language such as French or Russian. Beginning in grades seven and eight, pupils may be separated into pre-vocational tracks. This track, emphasizing business and economics, enrolls about twothirds of the girls in these schools, while the mathematics, science, and technology track enrolls half the boys. The social science and humanities tracks attract about twice as many girls as boys. Graduates of the Realschule (those in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg must pass a standardized test) are entitled to attend a Berufsfachschule (full-time vocational school) or a Fachoberschule (vocationally oriented upper secondary school).

The founding of Berufsfachschulen is a newer trend. These full-time vocational schools enroll about 300,000 students nationwide. Admission to these institutions requires completion of either the Hauptschule or Realschule. The Berufsfachschule trains students for careers in nursing, bookkeeping, social work, forestry, commerce, the technical trades, tourism, social welfare, home economics, auto mechanics, and medical and dental technology. The course of study lasts from one to three years.

Overall, proper certification of one's education and vocational training is both more complex and far more widespread than in the United States. Job advertisements frequently specify the qualifications required, and both employers and prospective employees recognize a plethora of diplomas, certificates, and licenses, each stamped and validated by professional organizations. Those who lack such documentation stand a far poorer chance in the job market, where the American model for the "self-made man" receives little respect. Moreover, this somewhat rigid system means that workers contemplating a career change must invest considerable time and often money in earning new degrees and certificates.

Approximately one-fourth of Germany's pupils completing elementary school enter the Gymnasium. Most cities offer several models of Gymnasium specializing in modern languages, ancient languages (Greek and Latin), math and the natural sciences, the arts, or humanities. These schools may be further characterized by their religious affiliation, and, until the mid-1970s, many of those in the West were segregated by gender. A student at a modern language Gymnasium might have French and mathematics five periods a week; German, Latin, English, chemistry, history, and philosophy for three periods; and physical education for two periods a week. The traditional emphasis on Latin or Greek has declined considerably over the past decades. Today all Gymnasia include computer facilities and offer some information technology courses.

These schools are divided into a lower level, grades 5 through 10, and an upper level, grades 11 through 12 or 13, in which students concentrate on fewer subjects. Most require basic or core courses: German, math, civics, sciences, physical education, religion, the arts and music, English, and one other foreign language. Basic or core courses are taught three periods a week, while the courses students choose for their specialty, Leistungskurse, meet five periods a week and require higher standards of student mastery. These specialty courses may be chosen from the disciplines listed above, but may also include law, technology, statistics, psychology, sociology, education, astronomy, geology, or computer science, depending on the school. About 9 percent of those students who eventually pass the Abitur are enrolled at special economics Gymnasia for the three upper grades and concentrate on accounting, law, economics, and information technology. There are other specialized Gymnasia for music and the arts. In 1977 North Rhine-Westphalia introduced the Kolleg, a school providing vocational education and preparation for the Abitur and university admission. Instruction integrates vocational and general subjects. Graduates can also enter the vocationally oriented upper secondary school, sometimes called a polytechnic school Fachoberschule.

The increased emphasis on specialized courses in grades 11 through 12 or 13 necessitates choices pointing towards a future career. Some critics believe it weakens the Gymnasium 's historical role in providing a liberal arts foundation for university study. Thus the balance between core and specialty courses and how they are weighted in the Abitur was debated and revised during the 1990s. These revisions specify that all pupils must study German, mathematics, and a foreign language in depth throughout their Gymnasium years, regardless of their choice of specialization. During the 1990s, the nationwide conference of university rectors criticized the structure of the Abitur, insisting that science and history, including contemporary history, should be compulsory as well.

Budget tightening in recent years has resulted in Gymnasium classes of as much as 30 students. Because teachers enjoy tenure and are assigned to one school, it is difficult to adjust the teaching staff to meet changing demand for more or fewer teachers in a given subject.

High school students are assigned a few hours of homework each afternoon, but testing is fairly infrequent, perhaps two tests per semester in specialty subjects, with just one or none in core subjects. Report cards are issued twice a year, and oral participation weighs heavily in student grades.

At the end of 13 years (12 in the Saarland and most of the new federal states) students at the Gymnasium sit for examinations (the Abitur ) in at least three specialized subjects. Approximately one-fourth of the country's secondary school graduates passes the Abitur each year. A half-day of essay questions is followed by a half-hour oral examination. Some states such as Bavaria have a centralized Abitur, while other states administer different tests in each school. The Bavarian Abitur, requiring examination in four subjects instead of three, is considered the most difficult. About one-fifth of a given year's age group passes the Bavarian Abitur, slightly below the national average of 27 percent. That proportion rises as high as 30 to 40 percent in some states, and this leads Bavaria to threaten that it will institute a separate entrance examination for students from other states seeking admission to one of its universities.

Regardless of such disputes, considerable standardization and quality control of the Abitur already exist. The Conference of Ministers of Education of the federal states establishes standards for 33 subjects at both the basic level of advanced courses and the advanced level of specialty courses. State ministries of education exchange questions used in written exams, share test results, and disclose their criteria for evaluation. Despite this approach to standardization, there is enough variation in the test's difficulty that students who fail it in one state or city may be able to pass it elsewhere. Questions are submitted by teachers in the schools, so there is some risk that they "teach to the test," although they cannot be certain that the questions they have submitted will be selected. Tests are administered by teachers to their own students, observed by another teacher of the same subject, a recorder, and a chairperson. Students who pass these examinations are awarded the Abitur or Zeugnis der allgemeinen Hochschulreife. Those who fail may try once more. Because this examination permits admission to any German university, its approach is regarded with considerable trepidation.

In the 1990s many German Abiturienten (students who had passed the examination) equipped themselves with formal training in a trade as well. About 15 percent of apprentices now have achieved the Abitur. For the most part they seek training in fields such as banking, insurance, communications, and management. Their presence makes it more difficult for candidates who have only the general school-leaving certificate to find apprenticeships.

The chief function of the Abitur is to serve as a credential opening the door to university study. Because of overcrowding in desirable specializations such as medicine, veterinary and dental medicine, biology, and chemistry, most universities introduced numerus clauses (caps or quotas) in these disciplines in the 1970s. As a result, graduates of the Gymnasium may nonetheless need to wait as much as five years to enter a university. Some pursue traineeships, travel to improve their language skills, work as au pairs, or exist as trades people while they await admission. Males may fulfill their 12 months of military service obligation or 15 months of alternative service.

The Gesamtschule, emerged as an alternative to Germany's multi-track school system in 1969. Today these schools are found chiefly in Brandenburg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bremen, Hamburg, and Berlin, educating about 13 percent of the country's schoolchildren. Instead of the Gesamtschule, some East German states established a middle school (known as a Sekundarschule, Mittelschule, or Regelschule ) combining features of the Hauptschule and Realschule through grades five and six. Most comprehensive schools provide full day instruction, lasting from eight o'clock in the morning until around three o'clock in the afternoon.

The West German Gesamtschule of grades 5 or 7 through 10 may house a Hauptschule, Realschule, and Gymnasium under one roof so that pupils can transfer easily from one type of school to another, or it may be integrated so that all pupils follow the same curriculum. The first two years, grades five and six, called the Förderstufe, offer maximum flexibility in changing tracks or even transferring to an outside school. From seventh grade upward several levels of difficulty are offered in most subjects, enabling pupils to be grouped by ability. Many comprehensive schools end after tenth grade, and graduates receive certification equivalent to completion of a Hauptschule or Realschule. They may then continue to a Gymnasium. Other comprehensive schools extend through grade 13 and administer the Abitur in-house. These schools offer more electives than the traditional schools, and the number of electives increases in the higher grades. Comprehensive schools are intended to be more democratic in governance, more flexible, and employ a more pupil-centered approach to teaching. Although the Gesamtschule has been the focus of much educational research, it is still considered experimental and controversial and are opposed by the Christian Democrats and the Bavarian Christian Socialist Union. Therefore, these schools are seldom found in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

Several reports published in the 1990s investigated whether comprehensive schools had achieved their purpose in their first quarter-century of existence. These studies reveal that the comprehensive schools have gradually become alternatives to the general secondary school or Hauptschule, with the more able pupils being sent to the Realschule or Gymnasium. Deprived of the upper strata of student achievement, the Gesamtschule has sometimes fallen below initial academic expectations. Furthermore, because these schools draw enrollment from three levels (Hauptschule, Realschule, and Gymnasium ), they are often regional, rather than local. They are also considerably larger than other German schools, enrolling as many as 1,000 to 2,000 pupils. Some blame these factors and larger classes for student feelings of anonymity and alienation. And, because of their full day schedule and the broad spectrum of course offerings, these schools may be more expensive to operate than other types.

There are other differences between these three types of schools besides the curriculum they offer. Parents of children at the Gymnasium or Realschule usually set high expectations for their children's success, monitor their progress, participate in parents' councils, and stay in contact with teachers, all factors which contribute to their children's success. On the other hand, children at the Hauptschule may come from homes where there is less support for education, lower expectations, and less assistance with homework. These children are also more likely to bring discipline problems into the classroom, and a very few may need to transfer to a special school. Teachers at this level are apt to need stronger skills in pedagogy and interpersonal relations, while teachers at the Gymnasium are more likely to be successful simply with presenting the material.

Students in elementary or secondary schools who receive failing grades are likely to be held back, a decision reached in a conference of teachers. According to most reports, being held back is not stigmatized; rather, it is viewed as a decision made in the best interest of the child. Pupils who fail two subjects also have the option of transferring to a lower level school, for example from the Realschule to the Hauptschule. In that school, only one year may be repeated; a pupil who is still failing can leave school after the age of 16 with a school-leaving certificate, which is not equal to the normal qualification. About 10 percent of pupils per year take this step; thus the dropout rate from Germany's schools remains very low. A contributing factor may be the difficulty of finding work as an unskilled labor in an economy which places a high value on occupational training and credentials.

Transfer from the Gymnasium down into the Realschule is not uncommon and leaves children the possibility of earning the Abitur later. Pupils may also transfer into the comprehensive school, if there is a Gesamtschule in the area, or to a vocational high school (Gymnasium ).

Nearly 4 percent of the country's school population attends Sonderschulen (Germany's special schools) for the physically or mentally handicapped. These institutions, developed out of church-sponsored facilities, are one area where churches continued to play a significant role even in the avowedly atheistic German Democratic Republic. The principle of separate schools was established after World War II, but has been repeatedly questioned. Some expected that children with special needs could be integrated into comprehensive schools. The largest groups of pupils in special schools are those with developmental delays or learning disabilities. At the elementary level, some pupils, usually those with dyslexia or mild learning disabilities, are being mainstreamed. During the first four years of schooling, pupils with disabilities may be sent to these special schools, a decision reached by the local superintendent, teachers, and parents. Almost one fifth of these special schools are private, chiefly those for pupils with hearing or vision impairments. In a few cases, children with disabilities may be schooled in a regular classroom of the Hauptschule, but their chances of finding an apprenticeship are slim; Germany has no real anti-discrimination policies comparable to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Proponents of Germany's separate Sonderschulen contend that this system offers two advantages: it provides specialized education efficiently to those with special needs, and it spares other schools the expense of special equipment (wheelchair ramps, elevators) to accommodate such pupils; some Sonderschulen are residential institutions. The disadvantages are that separation of these children may not prepare them adequately for integration into the workplace. Furthermore, other children may not learn tolerance or a willingness to accommodate those with special needs. The trend is moving toward increased mainstreaming of physically or mentally challenged pupils.

Significant changes in Germany's three-part secondary school system began in the 1980s. Larger numbers of German children who might otherwise have entered the Hauptschule chose the Realschule instead, motivated in part by the belief that the quality of instruction in the Hauptschule had been compromised by the influx of immigrant children. While the majority of citizens favor the current system of separating pupils after the fourth grade into three separate institutions, many parents aim higher than the school level where their children are placed; for example 52 percent would prefer that their offspring attend the Gymnasium, while only about half that number actually do so.

Efforts toward less stratified, more egalitarian structures, such as the orientation phase following fourth grade and the comprehensive secondary school, have gained ground where the Social Democratic Party is strongest, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, and the three city-states. However, the Christian Democrats and their affiliates, the Christian Socialist Union, form a bulwark preserving the more conservative, traditional three-part division of secondary education in areas where they dominate the political scene, such as Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

Germany's public school system presents several contrasts to the American model. Student activities play a far smaller role than is the case in American high schools, although German schools may create their own newspapers. Team sports seldom form part of the school experience; rather children join soccer or swimming clubs, which are sponsored by municipalities or private organizations. Music lessons and school bands are also rare in German schools. Driver education is given through Fahrschulen (private schools) where tuition is expensive, and the minimum age for obtaining a driver's license is eighteen. Thus, in contrast to the American pattern, it is rare for high school students to drive to school or to hold part-time jobs at the end of the school day.

German schools offer few special programs for the gifted and talented. It is assumed that these pupils will ascend to the upper tracks within the Gymnasium, and this arrangement appears satisfactory, given the system's separation of pupils into tracks based on intellectual ability.

Relatively little career counseling occurs in German schools. For the most part, decisions about which secondary school to enter also encompass decisions about a future occupation. The Bundesanstalt für Arbeit (Federal Agency for Work) and its information centers disseminate information about various careers.

At all levels, Germany's educational institutions have been struggling to keep pace with technological innovations. At the turn of the twenty-first century, only about one third of the country's schools had Internet access. In May 2000 Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announced a new four-year initiative to spend 750 million marks to equip public schools and libraries with Internet connections, to develop educational software, and to expand opportunities to study information technology at colleges and universities over the next five years. In 1999, only 20,000 students began their studies in computer science; at the technical universities of Berlin and Munich about half the applicants had to be turned away due to a lack of financing for such programs. Some universities, such as Hannover and the Free University in Berlin, have responded by introducing newer, shorter information technology programs. In addition, 100 Fachhochschulen offered 100 openings each in one-year postgraduate training programs in information technology.

Evidence of the country's serious shortage of computer experts can be seen in Schroeder's initiative to offer 20,000 non-European Union computer specialists a green card entitling them to work in Germany for a five-year period, accompanied by their families. A few months after this initiative was announced in 2000, Germany had received far fewer than the expected number of applications, most from India, Pakistan, Algeria, and Bulgaria. After much debate, German authorities agreed that applicants must either hold an advanced degree or prove a minimum yearly income of 100,000 DM (about US$50,000). German employers found themselves on the horns of a dilemma: while their culture respects and recognizes academic qualifications above any comparable measures of worth, the sudden demand for computer experts has forced them to become more flexible.

Higher Education

Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) founded the Berlin University in 1810. He insisted that universities should promote both research and teaching and advocated academic freedom, liberating professors from the demand that they submit their lectures for church or state approval and not deviate from the written text. Humboldt insisted that universities must be autonomous, free of political or religious interference, a goal that was not realized for many more decades. Humboldt also introduced less formal instructional settings, seminars, and laboratory sessions.

At the end of World War II, West Germany contained 16 universities and 14 technical colleges. Fachhochschulen, offering higher professional training in engineering and scientific fields, appeared in West Germany in the late 1960s. They offer instruction in fields such as business administration, engineering, agriculture, social work, or design. The period of study is usually shorter than at a university and culminates in the award of a Diplom.

In East Germany, the research function was transferred from universities to institutes and academies, such as the prestigious Academy of Sciences in Berlin. Both research and academic freedom came under the scrutiny of the Socialist Unity Party in the German Democratic Republic. Many administrators and senior faculty belonged to the Party, and Free German Youth groups existed on all campuses, exercising some control over student access and activities. At the time of unification, East Germany counted 54 institutions of higher education, among them 8 universities and 5 technical colleges. While their physical facilities were often outdated, and laboratory and computer equipment inadequate, these institutions enjoyed a favorable faculty-to-student ratio, with a stronger emphasis on teaching and learning than on research. Since unification, many institutions have been amalgamated and faculties combined or reduced in the East. New universities have been founded at Erfurt, Potsdam, and Frankfurt an der Oder, and new technical colleges at Cottbus and Chemnitz. Over a three-year period, departments of history, social studies, law, and Marxism-Leninism were disbanded and professors' qualifications and personal integrity were examined. New faculty positions were established in the humanities, legal studies, economics, business, and education.

New universities were founded in West Germany throughout the 1970s and 1980s when the population of university students doubled (from a half-million to around 1 million). However, facilities were not expanded to meet the demand. This was because demographers had predicted lower enrollments in the 1980s based on the low birthrates following the advent of oral contraceptives in the early 1960s. Despite these predictions, large numbers of students sought admission to higher education, especially in fields such as computer science, engineering, and business. Expectations that students would complete their studies more expeditiously and leave universities sooner also failed to materialize. In 2000 around one-third of united Germany's young people chose to study at a university or specialized college, and enrollment has remained around 1.8 million. The largest universities are Munich, followed by Berlin's Free University, and the universities in Cologne, Münster, Hamburg, and Frankfurt am Main. The 1980s and 1990s witnessed steady increases in the proportion of students from working class families (now around 15 percent), the proportion of students from immigrant families, and the proportion of women (40 percent in the West and 46 percent in the East) pursuing higher education.

German universities present many contrasts to the American university system. First, admissions to most fields of study are not competitive; high school graduates with the Abitur are assured of admission. However, since a period of overcrowding in the 1970s, admissions to fields such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, biology, management, economics, law, psychology, pharmacy, and nutrition have been restricted. Nearly half of all university admissions are decided on the basis of Abitur grades and testing, 10 percent solely on test results, and the remainder on the basis of an interview and other factors such as how long the applicant has been waiting for admission. Decisions for all public universities are made by a central admissions board in Dortmund. The average age for students entering higher education is 22; some have delayed this step because of the difficulty of obtaining a place in high demand fields such as the medical sciences. In 2001 about 25 percent of the students entering higher education have completed vocational training as well as the Abitur. Some students have pursued practical training or worked to earn money to finance their education. Because the average length of university study is 7 years, with slightly shorter times for technical colleges, students are 28 or 29 by the time they graduate and are ready to begin their careers. Recently concern has arisen that this places them at a competitive disadvantage among their peers in the European Union.

Tuition is free, but students pay for health insurance and activity fees each semester. Those who need financial assistance to meet living costs receive monthly subsidies known as BAFöG, an acronym for Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz (federal law to promote education). About a quarter of all students in the West and half of those in the East receive this financial assistance. Originally a grant, these subsidies were converted in 1983 to interest-free loans, usually awarded for a maximum of four years. A more recent decision to charge interest on BAFöG loans aroused controversy over the issue of fair access to higher education for all qualified students. About 60 percent of German university students finance their studies through part-time work; however, since Germany values special training and skilled trades, opportunities for entry into low-skilled occupations are limited.

Germany's university faculties have historically been considered attractive and prestigious; indeed those entitled to the honorific "professor" outrank even medical doctors in prestige. At the top of faculty rank are chaired professors; followed by Privatdozente, who do not have tenure; temporary and guest faculty; instructors whose role is limited to teaching, Lehrbeauftragte ; and technical and teaching assistants, wissenschaftliche Hilfskräfte. Faculty at technical colleges are expected to bring appropriate practical experience as well as advanced degrees to their teaching posts. In addition to advanced degrees and teaching expertise, those wishing to ascend to a full university professorship must complete a step known as Habilitation, research and publication in their field analogous to a second doctoral dissertation, and orally presented to a committee of superiors for discussion and approval. Only after successful completion of this step (which may take as long as ten years) are faculty recommended for permanent appointment to the highest rank.

In 1999 the Conference of University Rectors (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz ) recommended some changes in the training of new university faculty, maintaining that students should be able to obtain a doctoral degree by 27 or 28 years of age. Qualification for a tenure-track position should not require more than an additional 10 yearsstill very long by U.S. standards. The present system requires closely supervised research under the auspices of a senior faculty mentor, a procedure which discourages study abroad and may be restrictive, subjective, or unduly dependent on personal interactions. Furthermore, the emphasis on research does nothing to promote effective teaching. Reliance on the support of senior faculty, who are overwhelmingly male, makes it difficult for women to attain tenured university rank. Only about 5 percent of fully tenured university professors are women.

Germany had no private universities until the late twentieth century. In 2001 there are about 65, many church-related, whose total enrollment is about 30,000 students. Even in 2001, there are no noteworthy general-purpose private universities and no significant differences in status or quality among the country's approximately 90 public universities. In 1995 united Germany also counted 17 theological seminaries, 136 polytechnic colleges, and 31 colleges (Fachhochschulen ) for administrative services. There are almost 50 academies of Music and Art (Kunsthochschulen, Musikhochschulen ) but only 6 colleges of education (Pädagogische Hochschulen ), since most have been combined with universities. In the 1960s and 1970s, technical universities and colleges sprang up, for example in Berlin, Munich, Augsburg, Bochum, and Trier. The distance-learning university at Hagen, founded in 1975, enrolls about 50,000 students, most of them part-time, in programs in economics, mathematics, electrical engineering, computer science, and other fields. The last 10 years have witnessed the creation of new bi-national universities, beginning with a joint German-Polish university (Viadrina) in Frankfurt an der Oder. France and Germany founded a new bi-national university in Saarbrücken in 2000, where instruction takes place in both languages; the study of artificial intelligence is a particular emphasis there. Beginning in 2001-2002 a Neisse university founded by the university of Wroclaw in Poland, the university of Liberec in the Czech Republic, and the university of Zittau/Görlitz in Germany will offer bachelors' degrees in information and communication management.

The curriculum at German universities also presents several contrasts to the American model. Germans consider that students at the Gymnasium have acquired a broad-based grounding in the liberal arts; thus universities have no core curriculum or general education requirement. Germans do not clearly distinguish graduate and undergraduate education. The period known as Grundstudium (basic studies) usually lasts for two years, ending with an examination, the Zwischenprüfung, or, in technical fields, the Diplomvorprüfung. A period of specialized, in-depth study follows, lasting two or more years longer. An examination is generally required at the end, either for civil service employment, the Staatsexamen, or a Diplomprüfung in scientific, technical, or engineering fields, or a master's level examination. The Magister (Master's degree) may require a thesis, as does the doctorate. There is no formal process for student advisement, nor for selecting an academic major comprised of a recommended curriculum. Instead, most students prepare for examinations by taking a variety of courses and seeking guidance from more experienced students or faculty. About one-fifth change their major during their course of study and as many as one-third drop out. A university degree does not guarantee employment in one's chosen fields: as many as a third of all graduates in languages, culture, social studies, and economics and one-tenth of those in medicine and veterinary medicine failed to find employment in keeping with their qualifications.

Courses of instruction at the university may be divided into various levels. Beginners sit in Vorlesungen (large lecture sections) and listen to a professor lecture from his notes or book. Tutorial sessions led by the professor's assistants may be offered in addition. Seminars are designated by their level of specificity and difficulty: Proseminar, Mittelseminar, and Hauptseminar. Students who wish to document their attendance and performance in these courses must make individual arrangements with the professor; generally, research papers and oral reports are required in the seminar courses. Close mentoring relationships between faculty and students are quite rare. Increasing student-faculty ratios make it even more difficult to develop such relationships.

As was the case at the level of high school vocational training, this educational model has proven conservative and somewhat inflexible. Thus new technological fields have found a place in new technical universities and colleges, rather than in the traditional universities. Although these opened their doors to women with the advent of the Weimar Republic, women are under-represented as both students and faculty in the sciences, law, and theology.

Student life at the university also presents several contrasts to the American system. The largest university, in Munich, has about 60,000 students, and many others are nearly as large, although the lack of a centralized campus masks their true size. The winter semester begins in October and extends through mid-February, while the summer semester lasts from mid-April to mid-July. Competitive sports are non-existent. Extra-curricular activities consist of a few groups organized, for example, on the basis of religion. Bruderschaften (fraternities) cultivate a rich tradition, but there are no sororities. The university campus may be spread throughout a city, with buildings housing newer faculties scattered on its outskirts. Only about 10 percent of a university's students in the West and 55 percent in the East are housed in dormitories, which usually reserve some space for foreign students. About one-fifth of university students and one-third of those at technical colleges live with their parents. Many students rent rooms or join others in apartments. The Mensa (student cafeteria) serves inexpensive meals and provides meeting space for students. Many university libraries have closed stacks, and students rely on their own housing arrangements for study space.

During the late 1990s, some West German students moved east to take advantage of East Germany's less crowded classrooms and lower cost of living. Some differences between East and West German students persist a decade after unification. Easterners are more apt to plan an academic program with a clear career goal in mind. They become financially independent earlier and finish their studies on average one year earlier than West German students.

Change is afoot in Germany's universities, after years of low budgets and high enrollments. In autumn 1997 university students began a series of demonstrations and strikes to protest lack of funding for higher education. While German colleges and universities can accommodate around 1 million students, there are currently about 1.8 million crowding into lecture halls and seminar rooms. From the late 1970s to the late 1990s, the number of students rose 70 percent, but the numbers of college and university faculty increased only 5 percent. Basic federal financial aid (BAFöG) has increased only slightly. In 1997 a proposal made by the University Rector's Conference to charge tuition sparked the largest student protests since 1968 and was ultimately rejected. While these protests attracted media attention and loosened purse strings in a few federal states, they failed to achieve any far-reaching reform of higher education. Other reforms proposed in 1997 would have replaced some aspects of faculty governance with professional administrators, introduced student evaluations of their courses, and prescribed programs of study leading to bachelor's and master's degrees.

On the other hand, different kinds of changes are occurring on the university scene. Over a dozen universities, including Leipzig, Dresden, Reutlingen, Stuttgart, Kaiserslautern, Stralsund, and Duisburg, now offer some instruction in English, particularly in technical fields such as engineering, communications, water resource management, information technology, electronics, and business administration. Some institutions have begun to design curricula that more closely resemble the American model, offering a bachelor's degree after six semesters or a master's degree after nine. Students who have earned a bachelor's degree in their homeland may be able to enter a master's level program directly. Some colleges and universities are considering introducing the credit point system used in the United States. The goal of these innovations is to attract more foreign students and to better prepare German students for internationally recognized degrees. Many of these programs offer study abroad as an integral part of the curriculum. Courses in English are often taught by visiting faculty from the United States, Britain, Asia, or India. A secondary purpose of such programs is to abbreviate the traditional seven years most university students spend passing their examinations and earning a license or diploma. At Fachhochschulen, the average is slightly more than five years. Thus far, attempts to shorten these periods of study have proven fruitless. Success could depend on closer monitoring of student progress and better advisement, an area where German universities have traditionally done relatively little.

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

In general, education is administered and financed by Germany's 16 federal states, with the national government assuming responsibility for the standardization of requirements for the Abitur, for teacher training, and for vocational education, as well as for financial support of students in higher education.

The Federal Institute for Vocational Education (Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung ), comprised of representatives of state and federal governments, unions, and employers, created educational guidelines for apprenticeships and is responsible for certification. At the local level, chambers of commerce maintain vocational education committees; firms which provide apprenticeships also contribute to their administration and have input.

The Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Culture sets standards for mutual recognition of teaching certificates, vocational training, the Abitur, and other certificates awarded at the completion of secondary education. In 1969 the West German constitution was amended to establish joint federal and state responsibility for higher education. Since the 1980s there has also existed a central office in Dortmund for awarding students admission to a university.

Universities and technical colleges are generally administered by a rector or president, and supported by deans and faculty hierarchies. Governance is shared with an assembly or senate comprised of university faculty. Once restricted to professors holding a university chair, these groups now usually include representatives from other faculty ranks.

Individual schools are under the supervision of a director appointed by the local district. The director, who continues to teach within the school, is responsible for scheduling, the evaluation of teachers, the coordination of grading, and representing the school to the public. A school council comprised of teachers, parents, and pupils discusses school issues such as rules, schedules, space usage, events, textbooks, and field trips. There are also separate teacher and parent councils. Party differences are evident here too: the Christian Democrats oppose the school council as a non-professional interference in educational matters.

Elementary and secondary schools receive around 80 percent of their financing from each of the federal states, with the remainder coming from individual communities; therefore, school quality does not vary significantly between rich and poor towns and cities. Schools may also receive funds or donated equipment from local businesses. Funds are distributed quite evenly among each of the levels of secondary school; the general secondary school does not usually lag behind the Gymnasium in the quality of school buildings or adequacy of resources.

With respect to higher education, the federal government provides 65 percent of financial aid to students (BAFöG) and contributes to funding for college and university construction, staffing, and special promotions, such as increasing the numbers of women faculty. However, the states pay 92 percent of higher education costs. About three-fourths of the funding for research comes from the federal government. Adult education funding is shared about equally by the federal, state, and local governments. In 1996 public spending for schools and higher education totaled approximately 159.2 billion DM or about eighty billion U.S. dollars.

The Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research, and Technology funds educational research (overseen by a joint federal and state council) into topics such as the integration of technology in schools, the role of ecology in the curriculum, and the development of girls and women. The Wissenschaftsrat (science council) located in Cologne was established in 1958 to coordinate science and research at the federal and state levels. It makes recommendations on university staffing, finances, and courses of study and played a key role in the reform of East German universities after unification. At that time it had 39 members, and, with additional representatives from East Germany, it now has 54. Members of this highly prestigious council are appointed by the federal president upon recommendation by the Max Planck Society, the University Rectors Conference, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. During its first 40 years, only 6 of its members have been women.

The University of Bochum includes a prominent Research Center for Comparative Educational Studies and, since the early 1990s, the University of Marburg has had a center for studies on European developments in education. The Max Planck Institute of Educational Research, established in Berlin in 1963, has worked since unification to analyze East German social networks, in addition to its more general research interests such as psychology and human development, educational development, schools, and teaching. The oldest institution researching international non-university education is the German Institute of International Educational Research at Frankfurt. This organization also assumed responsibility for the former East German Central Educational Library in Berlin, an institution dating back to 1875, now known as the Library for Research into the History of Education. A variety of both federal and state institutes also conduct research in such areas as curriculum development, the effectiveness of comprehensive schools, cooperation between schools, and teaching and learning. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Association), the Volkswagen Foundation, and churches also support specific projects in the area of educational research. Recommendations from the late 1990s would strengthen links between the traditionally independent Max Planck Institute and universities and urge that organization to focus its research efforts on the latest developments in science. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft has a somewhat restrictive peer review process to award grant funding and has been urged to open its review panels to younger researchers and to include more women. Germany ranks seventh among industrialized nations in the proportion of gross domestic product spent on research and development. In Germany as everywhere else, recent years have seen tighter budgets and greater reluctance to fund schools fully. The country taxes its wealthiest citizens at about half their income, in part to defray the high costs of unification.

Nonformal Education

Adults may expand their formal schooling for personal reasons or to develop new job skills. There are more than 1,000 Volkshochschulen (adult education centers) in Germany, offering courses in languages, technology, health areas, and arts and crafts. Around 7 million residents take advantage of such offerings each year.

The so-called second path (zweiter Bildungsweg ) is open to adults over the age of 19 who completed tenth grade and have professional training or a three-year work record. These adults, as well as full-time homemakers, can attend evening courses to earn school completion certificates such as the Abitur and the certificate normally awarded upon completion of the Realschule. Full-time study for adults is offered in the Kolleg, which fills 32 hours a week and can last for three to four years. Participants in these programs can receive BAFöG financial support. Both full-time and part-time instructors teach adult education courses, many of them in the evening. Workers who have been unemployed for a long time may receive subsidies to cover part or most of the cost of such re-training initiatives. The Bundeanstalt für Arbeit (Federal Agency for Work) sponsors a retraining program for workers suffering from long-term unemployment. Labor unions, churches, and private businesses also maintain continuing education facilities and programs. A half-dozen universities offer non-degree programs for senior citizens.

While distance learning was widespread in the German Democratic Republic, it did not appear in West Germany until 1975 with the founding of the university at Hagen in North Rhine-Westphalia. Now the university has more than 50,000 students, with more than 50 percent of them part-time; the largest number study economics and education. It operates 60 regional study centers throughout Germany.

Teaching Profession

In 1990 the nationwide Conference of State Ministers of Education established new standards for teacher education. Those planning to teach in elementary and general secondary schools must study for at three or four years - depending on their state - at the university; those destined for the Realschule, Gymnasium, vocational schools, or special schools study for five years. Teachers at the elementary level and those in the secondary general school (Hauptschule ) may study at one of the country's Colleges of Education (Pädagogische Hochschulen ). In recent years the trend has been to incorporate these institutions into universities, except for Baden-Württemberg, Schleswig-Holstein, and Saxony-Anhalt, where they remain separate. Teachers at the elementary and general secondary schools are required to specialize in German, mathematics, and an additional subject. Those planning to teach in the Realschule, Gymnasium, or special schools usually specialize in at least two subjects, with relatively less training in pedagogy than is required in the United States. All prospective teachers take a qualifying examination after university study, followed by two years of supervised practice teaching (the Referendariat ), and then a second state examination. Teachers in vocational schools must have completed an apprenticeship in addition to their academic training. Requirements for teacher education differ among the 16 federal states in length of study, number of specialty subjects, periods of practical experience, and the type of school where one wishes to teach. The result is an inflexible system in which a person prepared to teach at a comprehensive school in Hesse would not be qualified to teach at a Gymnasium in Bavaria.

After a three-year probationary period, during which they are further supervised and evaluated, teachers apply to the regional district office for employment. Since 1872 public school teachers in the West have enjoyed lifetime tenure as Beamtenstatus (civil servants), a privilege opposed by the Social Democrats. After unification, veteran East German teachers were required to re-apply for their positions and undergo two years of observation and evaluation before receiving the status of Angestellte (salaried employees). Since citizens of other countries belonging to the European Union can also work in Germany, they may become salaried employees, but not civil servants, a rank open only to German citizens. Teachers in the Gymnasium become eligible for promotion to Studienrat (study advisor) and Oberstudienrat (head study advisor) and then to assistant principal and principal. An increase in salary accompanies promotion. Most teachers earn between $35,000 and $50,000 per year; however, those in the East still earn around 15 percent less than teachers in the West, although their teaching loads may be heavier and class sizes larger due to school consolidations. Principals continue to teach and come from the ranks of experienced teachers, rather than receiving specialized training. Their salaries are not significantly higher than those of teachers. They observe and evaluate teachers, schedule classes, and organize meetings with parents' councils, but seldom intervene to enforce classroom discipline. Detention or suspension from school are not common disciplinary measures. Few schools employ guidance counselors in the American model; rather, teachers who have received extra training may deal with drug problems or personal issues. Relatively little academic or career counseling occurs in German schools.

Most teachers conduct around 25 classes a week, averaging 45 minutes apiece. At the upper levels, two class periods may be combined for laboratory sessions. Those who supervise student teachers or head departments teach a reduced load, as do those over 55. Teachers retire at 65, or earlier, if they have taught 35 years (5 years of university study may be counted toward that period of service). The largest teachers' union, the Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft, enrolls about 65 percent of teachers, followed by smaller unions. Teachers' unions campaign for equal pay for East Germans, reduced teaching loads, and better pay. Because of their civil servant status, teachers may not strike.

Germany's teacher training system has come under scrutiny because of its generally conservative nature. Particularly at the level of the Realschule and Gymnasium, teachers concentrate on subject matter, the theory being that good scholars will be able to transmit their knowledge effectively. However, as these schools have lost their selectivity and experienced increased enrollments from more diverse and less academically prepared pupils, teachers have sometimes found themselves over-whelmed. Those who have achieved civil servant status may be evaluated every four to six years, but are not obliged to participate in further in-service training, nor does it raise their salaries unless they qualify for teaching at a higher level. It is difficult to remove or dismiss a poor teacher. Teacher training has been slow to respond to changes in the needs of teachers to be familiar with new instructional media and computer technology. In-service training offers teachers many opportunities to up-date their qualifications in methods and instructional media. These retraining courses usually take place during the school day and teachers are excused to participate. Because of the absence of substitutes, however, their participation places hardships on their co-workers. Summer courses for teachers are less common than in the United States.

Because curriculum and textbooks must receive state approval, there is less incentive or opportunity for innovative teaching than in many U.S. schools. It may be difficult to adapt a given text to the abilities of a particular class. And given the secure status of teachers' employment, not all can be motivated to cooperate with their colleagues in creating change. Those who have been promoted to the highest rank have little incentive to further their education or to adopt innovative techniques. Most teachers do not have a "homeroom," but rely on space in a teachers' lounge to prepare classes and do paperwork. Because few schools have cafeterias, most teachers also leave the building when the school day ends around one o'clock, and find little time to compare notes, talk shop, or cooperate with their peers.

Gender imbalance remains in the country's teaching faculties. About three-fourths of all elementary teachers are women. As the educational level rises, the number of males in the classroom increases also. Male kindergarten teachers are virtually unknown, but men and women teach in about equal proportions at the Gymnasium. As is true worldwide, women tend to be concentrated in the humanities and social sciences. However, the East German states boast more women teachers of math and science than the West, evidence that the Marxist-socialist education system did achieve some success in overturning gender stereotypes. Unemployment among teachers affects more women than men.

Because of demographics and tight budgets, relatively few new teachers entered the profession in the 1990s. A sharp decline in the birthrate between 1990 and 1994 caused an oversupply of teachers at the elementary level, and this effect is slowly making its way upward through the age cohorts, so that tenured positions have become increasingly difficult to obtain. In the new federal states, school enrollments are expected to remain low through 2010; while in the West they are expected to peak in 2005 and then fall again. In 2000 only 16 percent of Germany's residents were under the age of 15. The greatest oversupply of teachers exists at the Gymnasium level. In the East there is an oversupply of elementary teachers, teachers of Russian, humanities, and any social studies areas tainted by Marxism-Leninism. There is a scarcity of teachers in English, French, Latin (which replaced Russian), ethics, and the arts. Class sizes can run as high as 30 pupils; in Saxony in the late 1990s the limit for elementary classes was 32. The birthrate began to rise again in 1994, creating a greater demand for elementary teachers by 2000, but an oversupply of teachers at the secondary level persists. Young teachers who have spent five or more years at the university are often in their late twenties when they begin teaching. As a result, only about one-fifth of the country's teachers are under 35. Since West German teachers hold civil servant status, they cannot be dismissed nor can they be easily displaced from one school to another.


Public school education in Germany today confronts a spectrum of challenges not unfamiliar to American educators. Some Germans find the school curriculum outdated, as the schools struggle to keep pace with technological innovation. In comparison to other industrialized countries, Germany ranks nineteenth in number of computers per thousand of population, nineteenth in Internet service providers, and seventeenth in the number of Internet users. The high cost of telephone calls makes Internet usage expensive. New training programs and apprenticeships for workers in high tech fields have not kept up with the demand for qualified technicians and software engineers. In addition, the presence of the Internet in schools causes some school children to question the knowledge and authority of their teachers, and opens the door to hundreds of information sources not approved by any state.

Furthermore, since the early 1990s, Germany has suffered from unemployment rates as high as 12 percent in the West and nearly 20 percent in the East. As a result, some Germans question whether a good education guarantees a good job. Particularly in the East, where teachers of Russian, Marxism-Leninism, economics, political science, and the history of the working class were thrown out of work after unification, the value of education has been called into question.

The continuing presence of religion in Germany's schools would appear threatened by the pressures of immigration. Today there are about 28 million Catholics in Germany and roughly the same number of Lutherans. While these churches have traditionally dominated religious education in schools, they have attracted few believers in the East, where only 25 percent of the population is Lutheran and about 3 percent Catholic. Since the imposition of the church tax (10 percent of the individual's income tax), many East Germans have taken the legal step of disaffiliating themselves from churches, and membership has actually declined. Germany's population now encompasses 2.3 million Moslems, most of them Turks who live chiefly in the West. There are another 370,000 Orthodox Christians, 200,000 evangelical Protestants, and a growing community of 50,000 Jews, most of them immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The 1990s witnessed legal disputes in Germany about the traditional Moslem head covering worn by some schoolgirls and teachers and about the presence of crucifixes in Bavarian classrooms. It seems likely that the most acceptable solution to increasing religious diversity should be a tendency toward courses in ethics rather than religion, a trend strongly opposed by the Christian Democrats and Christian Socialist Union.

The academic success of immigrant children remains uncertain. Bilingual education programs have mostly been abandoned, although some immigrant children may participate in after-school programs or special classes to learn German as a second language. Even Berlin, where about one fifth of the schoolchildren speak a first language other than German, now has only a half-dozen schools still offering some form of bilingual education. The dropout rate for Turkish children is three times that for Germans, and German children are three times as likely as Turks to achieve the Abitur and go on to higher education. This hurdle blocks foreigners from entering the teaching profession; thus immigrant children confront teachers who seldom speak their mother tongue. The problem of immigrant children varies with geography; there are fewer foreigners in the new federal states and most of those in the West are concentrated in cities.

Another social issue challenging teachers is that schools have increasingly been expected to assume responsibilities previously held by families and, in the East, by socialist organizations. Such responsibilities have devolved onto the schools as the need increases for women as well as men to work for pay. Moreover, Germany has a high number of single parent families; in the late 1990s, half of all babies in the East were born to unmarried women. The number of single parent families means that schools need to take on some responsibilities for afternoon care, supervision of homework, and enrichment activities such as sports and arts. Some, particularly the Gesamtschulen, now offer afternoon programs or a full day of instruction.

The coming decades will bring far-reaching changes, arising from Germany's membership in the European Union. Because teachers from other European Union countries will be eligible to teach in Germany, there must be broad agreement on the qualifications required for effective teaching, such as the balance between subject matter knowledge and practical training.


Ashwill, Mark A., ed. The Educational System in Germany: Case Study Findings. Washington DC: National Institute on Student Achievement, Curriculum, and Assessment, 1999.

Dichanz, Horst, and John A. Zahorik. Changing Traditions in Germany's Public Schools. Bloomington, IN: Phi Beta Kappa Educational Foundation, 1998.

Fishman, Sterling, and Lothar Martin. Estranged Twins; Education and Society in the Two Germanys. New York: Praeger, 1987.

Fuhr, Christoph. The German Education System Since 1945; Outlines and Problems. Bonn: Inter Nationes, 1997.

Geschke, Otti. "Participation and Disadvantage: Women in the Educational System." In The Federal Republic of Germany; the End of an Era, ed. Eva Kolinsky, 189-198. New York: Berg, 1991.

Lamberti, Marjorie. State, Society, and the Elementary School in Imperial Germany. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Lingens, Hans G. German Higher Education. Bloomington, IN: Phi Beta Kappa Educational Foundation, 1998.

Saxony State Ministry of Culture. Bildungwege in Sachsen. 8th ed., 2000.

Stevenson, Mark A. "Flexible Education and the Discipline of the Market." International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 12 (May/June 1999): 311-324.

Streitwieser, Bernhard Thomas. "Some Thoughts on Post-Reunification Pedagogical Adjustments." European Education 31 (Fall 1999): 60-87.

Teichler, Ulrich. "Education in the Federal Republic of Germany: Recollections and Problems." In The Federal Republic of Germany; the End of an Era, ed. Eva Kolinsky, 177-188. New York: Berg, 1991.

Helen H. Frink


views updated Jun 08 2018


Culture Name


Alternative Names

Germania (Latin), Deutschland (German), l'Allemagne (French)


Identification. The name Germany is derived from the Latin word Germania, which, at the time of the Gallic War (5851 b.c.e.), was used by the Romans to designate various peoples occupying the region east of the Rhine. The German-language name Deutschland is derived from a Germanic root meaning volk, or people. A document (written in Latin) from the Frankish court of 786 c.e. uses the term theodisca lingua to refer to the colloquial speech of those who spoke neither Latin nor early forms of Romance languages. From this point forward, the term deutsch was employed to mark a difference in speech, which corresponded to political, geographic, and social distinctions as well. Since, however, the Frankish and Saxon kings of the early Middle Ages sought to characterize themselves as emperors of Rome, it does not seem valid to infer an incipient form of national consciousness. By the fifteenth century, the designation Heiliges Römisches Reich,or "Holy Roman Empire," was supplemented with the qualifying phrase der deutschen Nation, meaning "of the German Nation." Still, it is important to note that, at that point in history, the phrase "German nation" referred only to the Estates of the Empire dukes, counts, archbishops, electoral princes, and imperial citiesthat were represented in the Imperial Diet. Nevertheless, this self-designation indicates the desire of the members of the Imperial Estates to distinguish themselves from the curia in Rome, with which they were embroiled in a number of political and financial conflicts.

The area that became known as Deutschland, or Germany, had been nominally under the rule of the German kingwho was usually also the Roman emperorsince the tenth century. In fact, however, the various territories, principalities, counties, and cities enjoyed a large degree of autonomy and retained distinctive names and traditions, even after the founding of the nation-statethe Kaiserreich or German Empirein 1871. The names of older territoriessuch as Bavaria, Brandenburg, and Saxonyare still kept alive in the designations of some of today's federal states. Other older names, such as Swabia and Franconia, refer to "historical landscapes" within the modern federal states or straddling their boundaries. Regional identities such as these are of great significance for many Germans, though it is evident that they are often manipulated for political and commercial purposes as well.

The current German state, called the Federal Republic of Germany, was founded in 1949 in the wake of Germany's defeat in World War II. At first, it consisted only of so-called West Germany, that is the areas that were occupied by British, French, and American forces. In 1990, five new states, formed from the territories of East Germanythe former Soviet zone, which in 1949 became the German Democratic Republic (GDR)were incorporated into the Federal Republic of Germany. Since that time, Germany has consisted of sixteen federal states: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, and Thuringia.

Location and Geography. Germany is located in north-central Europe. It shares boundaries with nine other countries: Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. At various times in the past, the German Reich claimed bordering regions in France (Alsace-Lorraine) and had territories that now belong to Poland, Russia, and Lithuania (Pomerania, Silesia, and East Prussia). Shortly after the unification of East and West Germany in 1990, the Federal Republic signed a treaty with Poland, in which it renounced all claims to territories east of the boundary formed by the Oder and Neisse riversthe de facto border since the end of World War II.

The northern part of Germany, which lies on the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, is a coastal plain of low elevation. In the east, this coastal plain extends southward for over 120 miles (200 kilometers), but, in the rest of the country, the central region is dotted with foothills. Thereafter, the elevation increases fairly steadily, culminating in the Black Forest in the southwest and the Bavarian Alps in the south. The Rhine, Weser, and Elbe rivers run toward the north or northwest, emptying into the North Sea. Similarly, the Oder river, which marks the border with Poland, flows northward into the Baltic Sea. The Danube has its source in the Black Forest then runs eastward, draining southern Germany and emptying eventually into the Black Sea. Germany has a temperate seasonal climate with moderate to heavy rainfall.

Demography. In accordance with modern European patterns of demographic development, Germany's population rose from about 25 million in 1815 to over 60 million in 1914, despite heavy emigration. The population continued to rise in the first half of this century, though this trend was hindered by heavy losses in the two world wars. In 1997, the total population of Germany was 82 million. Of this sum, nearly 67 million lived in former West Germany, and just over 15 million lived in former East Germany. In 1939, the year Germany invaded Poland, the population of what was to become West Germany was 43 million and the population of what was to become East Germany was almost 17 million. This means that from 1939 to 1997, both the total population and the population of West Germany have increased, while the population of East Germany has decreased.

Following World War II, the population of both parts of Germany rose dramatically, due to the arrival of German refugees from the Soviet Union and from areas that are now part of Poland and the Czech Republic. In 1950, eight million refugees formed 16 percent of the West German population and over four million refugees formed 22 percent of the East German population. Between 1950 and 1961, however, more than 2.5 million Germans left the German Democratic Republic and went to the Federal Republic of Germany. The building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 effectively put an end to this German-German migration.

From 1945 to 1990, West Germany's population was further augmented by the arrival of nearly four million ethnic Germans, who immigrated from Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union or its successor states. These so-called Aussiedler or return settlers took advantage of a provision in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, which grants citizenship to ethnic Germans living outside of Germany.

Another boost to the population of West Germany has been provided by the so-called Gastarbeiter (migrant or immigrant workers), mostly from Turkey, the Balkans, Italy, and Portugal. Between 1961 and 1997, over 23 million foreigners came to the Federal Republic of Germany; seventeen million of these, however, later returned to their home countries. The net gain in population for Germany was still well over 6 million, since those who remained in Germany often established families.

The population of Germany is distributed in small to medium-sized local administrative units, though, on the average, the settlements tend to be larger in West Germany. There are only three cities with a population of over 1 million: Berlin (3.4 million), Hamburg (1.7 million), and Munich (1.2 million). Cologne has just under 1 million inhabitants, while the next largest city, Frankfurt am Main, has a population of 650,000.

Linguistic Affiliation. In the early nineteenth century, language historians identified German as a member of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. The major German dialect groups are High and Low German, the language varieties of the southern highlands and the northern lowlands. Low German dialects, in many ways similar to Dutch, were spoken around the mouth of the Rhine and on the northern coast but are now less widespread. High German dialects may be divided into Middle and Upper categories, which, again, correspond to geographical regions. The modern standard is descended largely from a synthetic form, which was developed in the emerging bureaucracy of the territorial state of Saxony and which combined properties of East Middle and East Upper High German. Religious reformer Martin Luther (14831546) helped popularize this variety by employing it in his very influential German translation of the Bible. The standard language was established in a series of steps, including the emergence of a national literary public in the eighteenth century, the improvement and extension of public education in the course of the nineteenth century, and political unification in the late nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, massive population movements have contributed to further dialect leveling. Nevertheless, some local and regional speech varieties have survived and/or reasserted themselves. Due to the presence of immigrants, a number of other languages are spoken in Germany as well, including Polish, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Mongolian, and Vietnamese.

Symbolism. Any review of national symbols in Germany must take into account the clash of alternative symbols, which correspond either to different phases of a stormy history or to different aspects of a very complex whole. The eagle was depicted in the regalia of the Holy Roman Empire, but since Prussia's victory over Austria in 1866 and the exclusion of Austria from the German Reich in 1871, this symbol has been shared by two separate states, which were united only briefly from 1937 to 1945. Germany is the homeland of the Reformation, yet Martin Luther is a very contentious symbol, since 34 percent of all Germans are Roman Catholic. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, Germany became known as the land of Dichter und Denker, that is, poets and philosophers, including such luminaries as Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottfried von Herder, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich von Schiller, and Wilhelm von Humboldt. In the latter nineteenth century this image was supplemented by that of the Prussian officer and the saber-rattling Kaiser. Der deutsche Michel which means, approximately, "Mike the German," named after the archangel Michael, the protector of Germanywas a simpleton with knee breeches and a sleeping cap, who had represented Germany in caricatures even before the nineteenth century. The national and democratic movement of the first half of the nineteenth century spawned a whole series of symbols, including especially the flag with the colors black, red, and gold, which were used for the national flag in the Weimar Republic (19191933) and again in the Federal Republic of Germany (as of 1949). The national movement also found expression in a series of monuments scattered over the countryside. The National Socialists were especially concerned with creating new symbols and harnessing old ones for their purposes. In the Federal Republic of Germany, it is illegal to display the Hakenkreuz or swastika, which was the central symbol of the Nazi movement and the central motif in the national flag in the Third Reich (19331945).

The official symbols of the Federal Republic of Germany are the eagle, on one hand, and the black, red, and gold flag of the democratic movement, on the other. In many ways, however, the capital city itself has served as a symbol of the Federal Republic, be it Bonn, a small, relatively cosy Rhenish city (capital from 1949 to 1990), or Berlin, Germany's largest city and the capital of Brandenburg-Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, and, since 1990, the Federal Republic. From the Siegessäule (Victory Column) to the Reichstag (parliament), from the Charlottenburg Palace to the former Gestapo Headquarters, from the Memorial Church to the fragmentary remnants of the Berlin Wall, Berlin contains numerous symbols of Germany and German history.

Given the contentious character of political symbols in Germany, many Germans seem to identify more closely with typical landscapes. Paintings or photographs of Alpine peaks and valleys are found in homes throughout Germany. Often, however, even features of the natural environment become politicized, as was the case with the Rhine during Germany's conflicts with France in the nineteenth century. Alternatively, corporate products and consumer goods also serve as national symbols. This is certainly the case with a series of high-quality German automobiles, such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. The emergence of the nation has been understood in very different ways at different times. Humanist scholars of the early sixteenth century initiated a discourse about the German nation by identifying contemporaneous populations as descendants of ancient Germanic peoples, as they were represented in the writings of Roman authors such as Julius Caesar (10044 b.c.e.) and Cornelius Tacitus (c. 55c.116 c.e.), author of the famous work Germania. From the viewpoint of Ulrich von Hutten (14881523), among others, Tacitus provided insight into the origins and character of a virtuous nation that was in many ways equal or superior to Rome. The German humanists found their hero in Armin, or Hermann, who defeated the Romans in the battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 c.e.

The interest of German intellectuals in their ancient predecessors, as depicted in the literature of classical antiquity, continued into the eighteenth century, when it inspired the patriotic poetry of Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (17241803) and of the members of a group of poets called the Göttinger Hain, founded in 1772. The twentieth century scholar, Norbert Elias, has shown that the attention that bourgeois Germans of the eighteenth century devoted to the origins and the virtuous character of their nation was motivated in large part by their rejection of powerful aristocrats and courtiers, who modeled themselves on French counterparts.

On the eve of the French Revolution (1789), Germany was divided into nearly three hundred separate political entities of various sizes and with various degrees of sovereignty within the Holy Roman Empire. By 1794, French troops had taken the west bank of the Rhine, which had previously been divided among many different principalities; by 1806, Napoléon Bonaparte (17691821) had disbanded the Holy Roman Empire. In the same year, Napoléon's armies defeated Prussia and its allies in the simultaneous battles of Jena and Auerstädt. In its modern form, German nationalism took shape in response to this defeat. In the War of Liberation (18131815), in which many patriots participated as volunteers, the allied forces under Prussian leadership were successful in expelling the French from Germany. After the Congress of Vienna (1815), however, those who had hoped for the founding of a German nation-state were disappointed, as the dynastic rulers of the German territories reasserted their political authority.

With the rise of historical scholarship in the first half of the nineteenth century, the earlier emphasis on German antiquity was supplemented by representations of the medieval origins of the German nation. In the age of nationalism, when the nation-state was understood as the end point of a law-like historical development, German historians sought to explain why Germany, in contrast to France and England, was still divided. They believed that they had discovered the answer to this puzzle in the history of the medieval Reich. Shortly after the death of Charlemagne (814), the Carolingian empire split into a western, a middle, and an eastern kingdom. In the teleological view of the nineteenth century historians, the western kingdom became France and the eastern kingdom was destined to become Germany; the middle kingdom was subdivided and remained a bone of contention between the two emerging nations. The tenth century German king, Otto I, led a series of expeditions to Rome and was crowned as emperor by the pope in 962. From this point forward, Germany and the medieval version of the Roman Empire were linked.

German historians of the nineteenth century interpreted the medieval Reich as the beginning of a process that should have led to the founding of a German nation-state. The medieval emperor was viewed as the major proponent of this national development, but modern historians often criticized the actual behavior of the emperors as being inconsistent with national aims. The main villains of medieval history, at least in the eyes of latter-day historiansespecially Protestantswere the various popes and those German princes who allied themselves with the popes against the emperor for reasons that were deemed to be "egotistical." This opposition of the pope and the princes was thought to have stifled the proper development of the German nation. The high point in this development was, the nationalist historians believed, the era of the Hohenstaufen emperors (11381254). The Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick I was rendered in nineteenth century historiography as a great hero of the German cause. After his reign, however, the empire suffered a series of setbacks and entered into a long period of decline. The early Habsburgs offered some hope to latter-day historians, but their successors were thought to have pursued purely dynastic interests. The low point in the national saga came in the Thirty Years War (16181648), when foreign and domestic enemies ravaged Germany.

Among the educated bourgeoisie and the popular classes of nineteenth century Germany, the desire for a renewal of the German Reich was widespread; but there was much disagreement about exactly how this new state should be structured. The main conflict was between those favoring a grossdeutsch solution to German unification, that is, a "large Germany" under Austrian leadership, and those favoring a kleindeutsch solution, that is, a "small Germany" under Prussian leadership and excluding Austria. The second option was realized after Prussia won a series of wars, defeating Denmark in 1864, Austria in 1866, and France in 1871. In the writings of the Prussian school of national history, Prussia's victory and the founding of the German Reich in 1871 were depicted as the realization of the plans of the medieval emperor, Frederick I. After the founding of the Reich, Germany pursued expansionist policies, both overseas and in the territories on its eastern border. Defeat in World War I led to widespread resentment against the conditions of the Versailles Treaty, which many Germans thought to be unfair, and against the founders of the Weimar Republic, who many Germans viewed as traitors or collaborators. Adolf Hitler, the leader of the National Socialist (Nazi) movement, was able to exploit popular resentment and widespread desires for national greatness. National Socialist propagandists built upon beliefs in the antiquity and continuity of the German nation, augmenting them with racialist theories, which attributed to the Germans a biological superiority over other peoples.

National Identity. Following World War II, German national identity became problematic, since the national movement seemed to have culminated in the Third Reich and found its most extreme expression in the murder of millions of people, including six million Jews. All further reflection on the German nation had to come to grips with this issue in one way or another. There have been many different attempts to explain Nazism and its crimes. Some see Adolf Hitler and his cronies as villains who misled the German people. Others blame Nazism on a flaw in the German national character. Still others see the beginning of Germany's problems in the rejection of the rational and universal principles of the Enlightenment and the adoption of romantic irrationalism. Marxist scholars see Nazism as a form of fascism, which they describe as the form that capitalism takes under certain historical conditions. Finally, some cite the failure of the bourgeois revolution in the nineteenth century and the lingering power of feudal elites as the main cause. Interpretations of this sort fall under the general heading of Vergangenheitsbewältigung, or coming to terms with the past. Since the fall of the GDR, West German traditions of coming to terms with the past have been extended to the period of socialist rule in East Germany. Some Germans emphasize the similarities between the two forms of dictatorship, National Socialist and communist, while others, especially many East Germans, view the Third Reich and the GDR as being essentially dissimilar. Lingering differences between the attitudes and practices of West and East Germans are often attributed to the so-called Mauer in den Köpfen, or wall in the mind an allusion to the physical wall that used to divide East and West Germany.

In recent years, German nationalism has been reexamined in accordance with views of the nation as an "imagined community" which is based on "invented traditions." Most scholars have concentrated on the organization, the symbolism, and the discourse of the national movement as it developed in the nineteenth century. The most significant contributions to the imagination and the invention of the German nation in this era took place in the context of (1) a set of typical voluntary associations, which supposedly harkened back to old local, regional, or national traditions; (2) the series of monuments erected by state governments, by towns and cities, and by citizens' groups throughout Germany; and (3) the various representations of history, some of which have been alluded to above. In addition, there is a growing body of literature that examines understandings of the nation and the politics of nationhood in the eighteenth century. There is much disagreement on the political implications of the critical history of nationalism in Germany. Some scholars seem to want to exorcize the deviant aspects of modern German nationalism, while retaining those aspects, with which, in their view, German citizens should identify. Others see nationalism as an especially dangerous stage in a developmental process, which Germans, in their journey toward a postnational society, should leave behind.

Ethnic Relations. The framers of the Grundgesetz (Basic Law or Constitution) of the Federal Republic of Germany adopted older laws that define citizenship according to the principle of jus sanguinis, that is birth to German parents (literally, law of blood). For this reason, many people born outside of Germany are considered to be German, while many people born in Germany are not. Since the 1960s, the country has admitted millions of migrant workers, who have, in fact, played an indispensable role in the economy. Although migrant workers from Turkey, Yugoslavia, Italy, Greece, Spain, and Portugal were called Gastarbeiter (literally, guest workers), many stayed in Germany and established families. They form communities, which are to varying degrees assimilated to German lifestyles. Indeed, many of the children and grandchildren of immigrant laborers regard themselves not as Turkish, Greek, or Portuguese, but as German. Nevertheless, they have had great difficulty in gaining German citizenship; and many Germans view them as Ausländer, or foreigners. Beginning in the year 2000, new laws granted restricted rights of dual citizenship to children of foreign descent who are born in Germany. This new legislation has been accompanied by intensified discussion about Germany's status as a land of immigration. All major political parties now agree that Germany is and should be a land of immigration, but they differ on many aspects of immigration policy.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

The earliest urban centers in what is now Germany were established by the Romans on or near the Rhine, often on the sites of pre-Roman settlements. Examples include Mainz, Trier, and Cologne. In the Middle Ages, older and newly founded towns became centers for commerce and for the manual trades, which were organized in guilds. Towns developed distinctive forms of social organization and culture, which set them off from the agrarian world of peasants and nobles. Some, called "free imperial cities," enjoyed the protection of the emperor and concomitant political and economic privileges. Others were directly subordinate to territorial lords, but still tried to gain or maintain a degree of autonomy.

By the early modern period, the most important commercial centers were the Hanseatic towns or cities of the northern coastal regions, the Rhenish towns, and the southern German towns, such as Augsburg, Würzburg, Regensburg, and Nuremberg, which were located along trade routes leading to the Mediterranean. There was often a sharp distinction between commercial cities, such as Leipzig, and court cities, such as Dresden. Up until the nineteenth century, however, the urban populations were very modest in size. In 1800, only Berlin and Hamburg had more than 100,000 inhabitants.

In the course of the nineteenth century, Germany experienced the forms of internal migration and urbanization that are typical of the transition from an agrarian to an industrial society. Industrial centers such as Leipzig, Berlin, and the Ruhr Valley grew dramatically in the second half of the century. Essen, in the Ruhr Valley, had 10,000 inhabitants in 1851 and 230,000 in 1905. The inadequate living conditions in the burgeoning cities were a major impetus for the workers' movement, which led to the formation of unions and working-class parties, most notably the Social Democratic and Communist parties.

German cities typically bear witness to all eras in the architectural history of Europe. The sequence of Romanic, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles is especially evident in churches, many of which have been renovated repeatedly over the centuries. Much of the urban architecture in Germany bears witness to the tastes of the nineteenth century, including the classicism of the first half of the century and the historicism (including neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance) of the second half of the century. In the period of rapid industrial growth in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many German cities were largely rebuilt in the styles of the so-called Gründerzeit, that is, the founding years of the new German Empire. Most cities dispensed of their medieval walls in the nineteenth century, but they retained their central town square, which is typically flanked by the town hall and sometimes the town church as well. In German cities today, some of the old town halls are still administrative centers, but others have become historical museums. The town square is, however, still used for festivals, weekly farmers' markets, and other special events. Since the late 1970s, inner city areas surrounding the central squares have often been transformed into pedestrian zones, with many shops, cafés, restaurants, and bars.

German cities experienced an unprecedented degree of destruction in the late years of World War II. In the first decades of the postwar era, they were often rebuilt in a modern style that differed sharply from the earlier appearance of the cities. Since the 1970s, cultural preservation has become a higher priority. This emphasis on the preservation of historic aspects of the city corresponds to an increased popular interest in all things historical and to the importance of the international tourist trade. The politics of cultural preservation is characterized by debates over the way in which the past should be represented in urban places. This applies especially to the representation of the Third Reich and World War II. In Berlin, for example, many buildings have been linked to different regimes of the past, including Brandenburg-Prussia, the German Empire, and the Third Reich. The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which was largely destroyed in the last war, has been left in ruins. It now serves as a memorial not to Kaiser Wilhelm but to World War II. In Dresden, the federal state of Saxony, the city of Dresden, and various citizens organizations have elected to rebuild the famous Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), which was destroyed in the bombing of February 1945. Thus, they have chosen to emphasize the baroque tradition of "Florence on the Elbe," as Dresden was called. At the same time, Dresdenlike many other towns and cities of former East Germanyhas elected to remove many, though not all, of the monuments of the German Democratic Republic.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Eating habits in Germany vary by social class and milieu, but it is possible to generalize about the behavior of the inclusive middle class, which has emerged in the prosperous postwar era. Most Germans acquire food from both supermarkets and specialty shops, such as bakeries and butcher shops. Bread is the main food at both breakfast and supper. Breakfast usually includes brötchen, or rolls of various kinds, while supper called Abendbrot often consists of bread, sausages or cold cuts, cheese, and, perhaps, a salad or vegetable garnish. The warm meal of the day is still often eaten at noon, though modern work routines seem to encourage assimilation to American patterns. Pork is the most commonly consumed meat, though various sorts of wurst, or sausage, are often eaten in lieu of meat. Cabbage, beets, and turnips are indigenous vegetables, which are, however, often supplemented with more exotic fare. Since its introduction in the seventeenth century, the potato has won a firm place in German cuisine. Favorite alcoholic beverages are beer, brandy, and schnapps. German beers, including varieties such as Pilsner, Weizenbier, and Alt, are brewed according to the deutsche Reinheitsgebot, i.e., the German law of purity from the sixteenth century, which states that the only admissible ingredients are water, hops, and malt. Large family meals are still common at noontime on Saturdays and Sundays. These are often followed in mid-afternoon by Kaffee und Kuchen, the German version of tea time.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Special meals usually include meat, fish, or fowl, along with one of a number of starchy foods, which vary by region. Examples of the latter include klöße (potato dumplings), knödel (a breadlike dumpling), and spätzle (a kind of pasta). Alternatively, Germans often celebrate in restaurants, which often feature cuisines of other nations. Greek restaurants tend to be more moderately priced, French restaurants are often more expensive, and the especially popular Italian restaurants span the range of price categories. The most important holiday meal is Christmas dinner. Regional and family traditions vary, but this often consists of goose, duck, or turkey, supplemented by red cabbage and potatoes or potato dumplings.

Basic Economy. Since the late nineteenth century, the German economy has been shaped by industrial production, international trade, and the rise of consumer culture. Consequently, the number of people involved in agricultural production has steadily declined. At the end of the twentieth century, only 2.7 percent of the German workforce was involved in agriculture, forestry, and fishery combined. Nevertheless, 48 percent of the total area of Germany was devoted to agriculture, and agricultural products covered 85 percent of domestic food needs.

Land Tenure and Property. The reform of feudal land tenure was not initiated in Germany until the period of upheaval and change during or following the Napoleonic Wars. In the various German states of those days, land reform was typically part of a broader reform plan that affected many aspects of political, economic, and social life. Programs for land reform, which were begun in the first decades of the nineteenth century, often were not completed until the second half of the century. Subsequently, however, new technologies and new organizational forms allowed agriculture to become an increasingly efficient branch of the modern economy. As the nineteenth century progressed, production rose dramatically. Simultaneously, the workforce shifted away from agriculture and into industry.

Following World War II, agricultural production was subject to further modernization, which resulted in fewer farmers on fewer farms of greater size. Nevertheless, the family farms of West Germany were on the average relatively small, the great majority having less than 100 acres (40 hectares). In East Germany, the postwar reform of agriculture was planned and executed by the state and the ruling socialist party. The most important aspects of this reform were the redistribution of land in 1945, the formation of agricultural collectives between 1952 and 1960, and the regional cooperation among different local collectives in the late 1960s and 1970s. This led to the creation of large, industrialized, cooperative farms. At the end of the Cold War (1989), however, over 10 percent of the East German population was involved in agricultural production, while West German farmers and farm workers made up only 5 percent of the population. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, agriculture in eastern territories was privatized.

The Federal Republic of Germany has liberal property laws which guarantee the right to private property. This right is, however, subject to a number of restrictions, especially with regard to state prerogatives concerning public utilities, public construction projects, mining rights, cultural preservation, antitrust issues, public safety, and issues of national security, to name only a few. Following the German reunification, there were a number of property issues to be resolved, since the GDR had expropriated private property and had not taken appropriate action with regard to private property expropriated during the Third Reich. The farmland taken from landowners between 1945 and 1949 was explicitly excluded from the reunification treaty; otherwise, it was required that expropriated property be restored to private owners. The ruling principle in this process was "restitution over compensation." The restitution of real estate was complicated by multiple claims on single objects. In agriculture, ownership issues were usually clear, since the land exploited by the cooperatives had remained in private hands. Since, however, the cooperatives had worked the land for over thirty years, building roads and buildings irrespective of property boundaries, private owners faced many practical difficulties in gaining access to their land.

Commercial Activities. In Germany, there is a strong tradition of handwerk, or manual trades. In the manual trades, training, qualification, and licensing are regulated by special ordinances. Training and qualification occur through vocational schools and internships. These are an integral part of the modern educational system, though some of the vocabulary is reminiscent of guilds, which were abolished in the nineteenth century. For example, the owner or manager of a business enterprise in the manual trades is required to have his or her Meisterbrief (master craftsman's certificate). In the mid-1990s, the eleven most important manual trades, in terms of both the number of firms and the total number of employees, were those of barbers and hairdressers, electricians, automobile mechanics, carpenters, housepainters, masons, metalworkers, plumbers, bakers, butchers, and building- and window-cleaners.

Major Industries. Among the industrial countries of Europe, Germany was a late comer, retaining a largely agricultural orientation until the later nineteenth century. Following German unification in 1871, rapid industrial development exploited extensive coal resources in the Ruhr Valley, in the Saarland, in areas surrounding Leipzig, and in Lusatia. Building upon a strong tradition of manual trades, Germany became a leader in steel production and metalworking. Coal reserves also provided the basis for an emerging carbo-chemical industry. When, in the decades following World War II, heavy industry migrated to sites in Asia and Latin America, Germany experienced a dramatic decrease in the number of industrial jobs; this was accompanied by the growth of the service sector (including retail, credit, insurance, the professions, and tourism). At the beginning of the 1970s, over half of the workforce was employed in industry; by 1998, however, this number had dwindled to less than one third. In the early twenty-first century, the most important industries in Germany are automobile manufacturing and the production of automobile parts, the machine industry, the metal products industry, the production of electrical appliances, the chemical industry, the plastics industry, and food processing.

Trade. After the United States, Germany has the second largest export economy in the world. In 1998, export accounted for 25 percent of the gross domestic product and import for nearly 22 percent. Export goods include products from the major industries cited above. Other than coal, Germany lacks fossil fuels, especially oil and natural gas. These products must be imported. Germany's most important trading partners are France, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other European lands. It also trades actively with East Asian countries and has become increasingly involved in eastern Europe.

Division of Labor. The work force in Germany includes laborers, entrepreneurs, employees and clerical workers, managers and administrators, and members of the various professions. Access to particular occupations is determined by a number of factors, including family background, individual ability, and education or training. Laborers in Germany are usually highly skilled, having completed vocational training programs. Beginning in the 1960s, the ranks of the laboring class were augmented by migrant workers from Turkey and other countries bordering on the Mediterranean. Both laborers and employees are represented by well organized and aggressive unions, which, in the postwar era, have often cooperated with entrepreneurial organizations and the state in long range economic planning. Since the 1970s, rising labor costs and the globalization of industrial production have led to high rates of unemployment, especially in areas where heavy industry was dominant, as in Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. The problem of unemployment in the Federal Republic of Germany was exacerbated by the entry of the five new federal states of the former GDR in 1990. Once the Iron Curtain fell, East Germany lost its protected markets in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. As a result, its industry collapsed and hundreds of thousands lost their jobs. In 1998, unemployment rates were over 10 percent in former West Germany and 20 percent in former East Germany. The figures for the latter, however, did not take into account those who were involved in make-work and reeducation programs. Since many were pessimistic about the possibility of creating new jobs in eastern Germany, the flow of migrants to western Germany continued to the early twenty-first century.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. By the early twentieth century, German society was divided into more or less clear-cut classes. Industrial workers included both the skilled and the unskilled. The former came from the manual trades but became factory laborers when it had proved impossible or undesirable to remain independent. The middle classes included small businessmen and independent members of the trades, white-collar employees, professionals, and civil servants. Finally, the upper or upper middle classes consisted of industrialists, financiers, high government officials, and large landowners, among others. Members of these classes were usually associated with corresponding political organizations and milieus, for example, the workers with unions and socialist or communist organizations, and the middle classes with a range of bourgeois parties, occupational organizations, and patriotic societies. In the German Empire and the Weimar Republic, however, many Catholics of all classes were organized in the Zentrum, or Center Party.

The National Socialist (Nazi) Party found supporters among all social classes, especially the middle classes. The Third Reich was, in many ways, an upwardly mobile society, which created new jobs, provided subsidies, and opened career opportunities for party members. The success of many party supporters was gained at the expense of members of the workers' movement and the Jews and other minorities.

In the prosperous West German society of the postwar era, class boundaries seemed to open up and admit more members into a new, more inclusive middle class. Correspondingly, the political distinction between the bourgeois and the socialist parties lessened. In East Germany, the Socialist Unity Party wanted to eliminate the bourgeoisie, which had compromised itself through its support of National Socialism. This was to be achieved by nationalizing larger private enterprises, forcing independent farmers to enter agricultural cooperatives, and favoring the children of workers in education and hiring programs. The GDR described itself as a "workers' and peasants' state," but some social scientists have described it as a leveled middle-class society, made up of skilled workers, employees, and specialists, who held state-subsidized positions. Since the entry of the five new federal states into the Federal Republic, class relations have been reshuffled in eastern Germany once again, sending many westward in search of work and bringing many eastward to occupy leading positions in government and corporations. Large groups of retired and unemployed persons live side by side with entrepreneurs, managers, employees, civil servants, and others working in the service sector.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Social class in Germany is not only a matter of training, employment, and income but also a style of life, self-understanding, and self-display. The so-called bildungsbürgertum, or educated bourgeoisie of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, to cite one example, was characterized first and foremost by a particular constellation of artistic and literary taste, habits, and cultural and ethical values. Modern sociologists have tended to focus on the full range of social milieus that make up German society and on the various kinds of consumer behavior that characterize each milieu. Thus, variations in interior design in private residences, eating habits, taste in music and in other entertainment forms, reading materials, personal hygiene and clothing, sexual behavior, and leisure activities can all be viewed as indexes of association with one of a finite set of social milieus. A single example must suffice. Highly educated persons in business, government, or the professions are likely to read the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (a major newspaper, published in Frankfurt), if they are relatively conservative, or the Süddeutsche Zeitung or the Frankfurter Rundschau (newspapers published in Munich and Frankfurt, respectively), if they are somewhat left of center. Members of both groups will probably also read the politically moderate and rather sophisticated weekly newspaper, Die Zeit (Hamburg). Conservatives who are more interested in politics and business than in arts and literature may read Die Welt (another Hamburg newspaper), while readers who identify more closely with an alternative leftist milieu are more likely to reach for die tageszeitung, or taz (a newspaper published in Berlin). In contrast, those with a vocational education, who are small business owners, employees, or workers may read the very popular Bild (Hamburg), a daily tabloid newspaper. Finally, those who still feel loyal to the defunct GDR or who hope that socialism will come again often read Neues Deutschland (Berlin), which was the official organ of the Socialist Unity Party, that is the East German communist party.

Political Life

Government. Germany is a parliamentary democracy, where public authority is divided among federal, state, and local levels of government. In federal elections held every four years, all citizens who are eighteen years of age or older are entitled to cast votes for candidates and parties, which form the Bundestag, or parliament, on the basis of vote distribution. The majority party or coalition then elects the head of the governmentthe Kanzler (chancellor)who appoints the heads of the various government departments. Similarly, states and local communities elect parliaments or councils and executives to govern in their constitutionally guaranteed spheres. Each state government appoints three to five representatives to serve on the Bundesrat, or federal council, an upper house that must approve all legislation affecting the states.

Leadership and Political Officials. Germany's most important political parties are the Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union; the Social Democratic Party; the Free Democratic or Liberal Party; The Greens; and the Party of Democratic Socialism, the successor to the East German Socialist Unity Party. In 1993, the Greens merged with a party that originated in the East German citizens' movement, called Alliance 90. Since the late 1980s, various right-wing parties have occasionally received enough votes (at least 5 percent of the total) to gain seats in some of the regional parliaments. The growth of right wing parties is a result of political agitation, economic difficulties, and public concern over the increasing rate of immigration. The first free all-German national election since 1932 was held on 2 December 1990 and resulted in the confirmation of the ruling Christian Democratic/Free Democratic coalition, headed by Helmut Kohl, who was first elected in 1982. The Christian Democrats won again in 1994, but in the election of 1998, they were ousted by the Social Democrats, who formed a coalition government with Alliance 90 (the Greens). Like his then counterparts in the United States and Great Britain, Gerhard Schröder, the chancellor elected in 1998, described himself as the champion of the new political "middle."

Social Problems and Control. In the Federal Republic of Germany, police forces are authorized by the Departments of Interior of the sixteen federal states. Their activities are supplemented by the Bundesgrenzschutz (Federal Border Police) and the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution). In the early twenty-first century, organized crime and violence by right-wing groups constituted the most serious domestic dangers.

Military Activity. The German armed forces are under the control of the civilian government and are integrated into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). German men who are eighteen years of age are required to serve for ten to twelve months in the armed forcesor an equivalent length of time in volunteer civilian service. In 2000, Germans began a public debate about the restructuring of the armed forces.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

Germany's social welfare programs are among the oldest of any modern state. In 1881, the newly founded German Reich passed legislation for health insurance, accident insurance, and for invalid and retirement benefits. The obligation of the state to provide for the social welfare of its citizens was reinforced in the Basic Law of 1949. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the state supplements monthly payments made by citizens to health insurance, nursing care insurance, social security, and unemployment insurance. Beginning in the late twentieth century, questions were raised about the long-term viability of existing social welfare programs.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

German society is structured by many different Verbände, or associations, which are often organized at federal, regional, and local levels. There are associations for business and industry, for workers and employees (unions), for social welfare, for environmental protection, and for a number of other causes or special interests. Through such associations, members seek to influence policy making or to act directly in order to bring about desired changes in society. Associations that contribute to public welfare typically operate according to the principle of subsidiarity. This means that the state recognizes their contribution and augments their budgets with subsidies.

In local communities in Germany, public life is often shaped to a large degree by Vereine, or voluntary associations, in which citizens pursue common interests or seek to achieve public goals on the basis of private initiative. Such organizations often provide the immediate context for group formation, sociability, and the local politics of reputation.

Beginning in the late twentieth century, German society was strongly affected by the so-called new social movements, which were typically concerned with such issues as social justice, the environment, and peaceful coexistence among neighboring states. In the last years of the GDR, several civil rights groups emerged throughout the country and helped usher in the Wende (literally, turning or transition) in 1989 and 1990.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. With the transition from agricultural to industrial society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, women, who had been largely restricted to the domestic sphere, began to gain access to a wider range of economic roles. More than a century after this process began, women are represented all walks of life. Nevertheless, they are still more likely to be responsible for childcare and household management; and they are disproportionately represented among teachers, nurses, office workers, retail clerks, hair dressers, and building and window cleaners.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany states that men and women have equal rights under the law. Nevertheless, women did not enjoy juridical equality in marriage and the family until new family legislation was passed in 1977. Previously, family law, which had been influenced by the religious orientation of the Christian Democratic and Christian Social parties, had stated that women could seek outside employment only if this were consistent with their household duties. East German law had granted women equal rights in marriage, in the family, and in the workplace at a much earlier date. Needless to say, in both the Federal Republic and in the former GDR, the ideal of equality of opportunity for men and women was imperfectly realized. Even under conditions of full employment in East Germany, for example, women were under represented in leading positions in government, industry, and agricultural production.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. In Germany, the basic kinship group, as defined by law, is the nuclear family, consisting of opposite sex partners, usually married, and their children; and, in fact, the majority of households are made up of married couples with or without children. Between 1950 and 1997, however, there were fewer and fewer marriages both in total numbers and per capita. In 1950, there were a total of 750,000 marriages, or eleven marriages for every thousand persons; in 1997, by contrast, there were 423,000 marriages, or five marriages for every thousand persons. It is estimated that 35 percent of all marriages ended in divorce in the late twentieth century. In light of these facts, there has been much media speculation on the "crisis of the family," as has been the case in other industrial societies of western Europe and North America as well. Despite the increase in the number of unmarried couples, with or without children, such couples make up only 5 percent of all households. Nevertheless, the rising number of children who are born to unmarried mothers (currently 18 percent, lower than the European Union average), the rising divorce rate, and the growth of alternative forms of partnership have, since 1979, led to a broadening of the concept of family and a liberalization of family law and family policy.

Much more dramatic is the reduction of the birthrate. The annual number of deaths has been greater than the annual number of births since 1972. On the eve of reunification in 1990, there was an annual birthrate of 1,400 children per 1,000 women in West Germany and 1,500 children per 1,000 women in East Germany. In the new federal states of former East Germany, the birthrate had sunken to 1,039 children per 1,000 women by 1997. In both parts of Germany, the reduction of the birthrate is matched by a progressive reduction in the average size of households. In 1998, less than 5 percent of private households had five or more members. Since 1986, the Federal Republic of Germany has provided for the payment of Kindergeld (child-raising benefits) to families or single parents with children. As of January 1999, these payments were 250 marks (or approximately half that amount in dollars) per month for the first and second child up until his or her eighteenth birthday and, in some cases, until the twenty-seventh birthday.

In the new federal states of former East Germany, there are fewer marriages and fewer children; but a disproportionately high number of children are born to unmarried couples. These differences between former East Germany and former West Germany may be attributed, in part, to the economic difficulties in the new federal states. Some of the differences, however, may be understood as lingering effects of the divergence of family law and social policy during the separation of the East and the West. In the GDR, the official policy of full employment for men and women was realized by providing women with benefits and services such as pregnancy leave, nursing leave, day-care centers, and kindergartens. In general, the family law of the GDR served to strengthen the position of women vis-á-vis men in their relationships to their children. With the cutback or elimination of such policies following the entry of the new federal states into the Federal Republic of Germany, there was both a greater hesitancy to have children and a greater tendency to view having children separately from marital status.

Kin Groups. A society the size of Germany lends itself to the statistical analysis of family relations. It is unfortunate, however, that official statistics direct attention so single-mindedly to the nuclear family or variations thereof (unmarried couples, single parents) and cause observers to overlook family ties with grandparents, grown siblings, cousins, and other consanguineal or affinal relatives. Nevertheless, it is clear that ties with more distant relatives are a vital part of kinship in Germany at the onset of the twenty-first century, as is especially evident on holidays, at key points in the lifecycle of individuals, and in large family projects such as moving.


Child Rearing and Education. In Germany, infant care and child rearing correspond to typical western European and North American patterns. Childhood is viewed as a developmental stage in which the individual requires attention, instruction, affection, and a special range of consumer products. Child rearing is typically in the hands of the mother and father or the single parent, but here, especially, the importance of the extended family is evident. Variations in child rearing behavior by social class and social milieu are, however, less well studied than other aspects of adult behavior. In light of the critique of the "authoritarian personality" by the German sociologist Theodor Adorno and others, some middle-class parents have tried to practice an anti-authoritarian form of child rearing. Adorno and his colleagues thought that certain child rearing practices, especially strict and arbitrary discipline, encourage stereotypic thinking, submission to authority, and aggression against outsiders or deviants. In the past, they argued, the prevalence of such practices in Germany contributed to the success of National Socialism.

In most federal states, the school system divides pupils between vocational and university preparatory tracks. The vocational track includes nine years of school and further part-time vocational training, together with a paid or unpaid apprenticeship. The university preparatory track requires attendance of the humanistic Gymnasium, beginning in the fifth year of school, and successful completion of the Abitur, a university entrance examination.

Higher Education. Germany has many universities and technical colleges, almost all of which are self-administered institutions under the authority of the corresponding departments of the individual federal states. University study is still structured according to the humanistic ideals of the nineteenth century, which entrusts students with a great deal of independence. The assignment of grades, for example, is largely independent of class attendance. Grades are given for oral and written examinations, which are administered at the departmental level after the completion of the semester. Students of law and medicine begin with their chosen subject in the first year at the university and pursue relatively specialized courses of study. Admittance to popular major subjects is governed by the so-called Numerus clausus, which restricts the number of students, usually according to scores on college entrance examinations. German students pay no admission fees and are supported with monthly allowances or loans from the state.


It has often been noted that German society retains a small town ethos, which arose in the early modern period under conditions of political and economic particularism. Indeed, many Germans adhere to standards of bürgerlichkeit, or civic morality, which lend a certain neatness and formality to behavior in everyday life. When entering a store, for example, one is not likely to be noticed, unless one announces oneself forcefully by saying, "guten Tag " (literally, "good day") or "hello." In former East Germany, it is still common for friends and acquaintances to shake hands when they see each other for the first time each day. West Germans consider it more modern and perhaps more American not to do so. In pronouns of direct address, one uses either the formal sie or the informal du. Colleagues in the workplace typically address each other as Sie or use a title and the family name, such as, Herr or Frau Doktor Schmidt.

Life in public does not seem to be the highest good for all Germans, as urban centers often appear to be abandoned on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. This is linked to the issue of the operating hours of shops, which has been debated in Germany since the mid-1970s. For different reasons, both the unions and the churches opposed extended operating hours, as do many citizens, who are critical of "consumer societies" or who prefer, on the weekends, to remain with their families or in their private gardens.


Religious Beliefs. Germany was the homeland of the Protestant Reformation, but, in the politically fragmented Holy Roman Empire of the sixteenth century, many territories remained faithful to Roman Catholicism or reverted back to it, depending of the policy of the ruling house. Today, 34 percent of the population belongs to the Evangelical (Protestant) Church and a further 34 percent belongs to the Catholic Church. Many Germans have no religious affiliation. This is especially true of former East Germany, where, in 1989, the Evangelical Church had 4 million members (out of a total population of 16.5 million) and the Catholic Church had only 921,000 members. Since 1990, the Evangelical Church has lost even more members in the new federal states.

The Evangelical Church is a unified Protestant church, which combines Lutherans, Reformed Protestants, and United Protestants. Reformed Protestants adhere to a form of Calvinism, while United Protestants combine aspects of Lutheranism and Calvinism. Other Protestant denominations make up only a small fraction of the population. Most German Catholics live in the Rhineland or in southern Germany, whereas Protestants dominate in northern and central parts of the country.

In 1933, there were over 500,000 people of Jewish faith or Jewish heritage living within the boundaries of the German Reich. Between 1933 and 1945, German Jews, together with members of the far more numerous Jewish populations of eastern Europe, fell victim to the anti-Semitic and genocidal policies of the National Socialists. In 1997, there are an estimated sixty-seven thousand people of Jewish faith or heritage living in Germany. The largest Jewish congregations are in Frankfurt am Main and Berlin.

In the postwar era, migratory workers or immigrants from North Africa and western Asia established Islamic communities upon arriving in Germany. In 1987, there were an estimated 1.7 million Muslims living in West Germany.

Religious Practitioners. Religious practitioners in Germany include especially the Protestant or Catholic pfarrer (minister or priest). In local communities, the minister or priest belongs to the publicly acknowledged group of local notables, which also includes local governmental officials, school officials, and business leaders. Roman Catholic priests are, of course, local representatives of the international church hierarchy, which is centered in Rome. Protestant ministers represent Lutheran, Reformed, or United churches, which are organized at the level of the regional states. These state-level organizations belong, in turn, to the Evangelical Church of Germany.

Rituals and Holy Places. From the smallest village to the largest city, the local church dominates the central area of nearly every German settlement. German churches are often impressive architectural structures, which bear witness to centuries of growth and renovation. In predominantly Catholic areas, such as the Rhineland, Bavaria, and parts of Baden-Württemberg, the areas surrounding the towns and villages are typically strewn with shrines and chapels. The processions to these shrines, which were common until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, have now been largely discontinued.

Despite processes of secularization, which had became intensive by the early nineteenth century, churches retained their importance in public life. Beginning in the 1840s, there was a popular movement to complete the Cologne cathedral, which was begun in the Middle Ages but which remained a construction site for 400 years. With the support of the residents of Cologne, the Catholic Church, and the King of Prussia (who was a Protestant), work on the cathedral was begun in 1842 and completed in 1880. The character of the ceremonies and festivals that accompanied this process indicate that the Cologne Cathedral served not only as a church but also as a national monument. Similarly, the national assembly of 1848, in which elected representatives met to draft a constitution for a united Germany, took place in St. Paul's Church in Frankfurt. (The national and constitutional movement failed when the Prussian king refused the imperial crown, which was offered to him by the representatives of the national assembly.) One of the centers of the popular movement that led to the fall of the GDR in 19891990 was the Nikolaikirche (St. Nicolas Church) in Leipzig.

Since the late nineteenth century, churches and other historical buildings in Germany have become the objects of Denkmalpflege (cultural preservation), which may be understood as one aspect of a broader culture of historical commemoration. Together with museums, historical monuments constitute a new set of special sites, which may be approached only with a correspondingly respectful attitude.

Graveyards and war memorials occupy a kind of middle ground between holy sites and historical monuments. All settlements in Germany have graveyards, which surviving family members visit on special holidays or on private anniversaries. War memorials from World War I are also ubiquitous. Monuments to World War II often have a very different character. For example, the concentration camp Buchenwald, near Weimar, has, since the early 1950s, served as a commemorative site, which is dedicated to the victims of the National Socialist regime.

Death and the Afterlife. Nearly 70 percent of Germans are members of a Christian church, and many of these share common Christian beliefs in himmel (heaven) and hölle (hell) as destinations of the soul after death. Many other Germans describe themselves as agnostics or atheists, in which case they view beliefs in an afterlife as either potentially misleading or false. Funerary rites involve either a church service or a civil ceremony, depending on the beliefs of the deceased and his or her survivors.

Medicine and Health Care

Germans were among the leaders in the development of both Western biomedicine and national health insurance. Biomedical health care in Germany is extensive and of high quality. In addition to having advanced medical technology, Germans also have a large number of medical doctors per capita. In 1970, there was one medical doctor for every 615 people, while in 1997, there was one medical doctor for every 290. Forty-one percent of doctors are in private practice, while 48 percent are in hospitals, and 12 percent are in civil service or in similar situations.

In medical research, there is an emphasis on the so-called zivilisationskrankheiten (diseases of the "civilized" lands), that is, heart disease and cancer. In 1997, heart disease caused 47 percent of all deaths in former West Germany and 52 percent of deaths in former East Germany. In the same year, cancer was responsible for 25 percent of all deaths in former West Germany and 23 percent of deaths in former East Germany.

Alongside biomedicine, there is a strong German tradition of naturopathic medicine, including especially water cures at spas of various kinds. Water cures have been opposed by some members of the German biomedical establishment but are still subsidized to some extent by statutory health insurance agencies.

Secular Celebrations

German holidays are those of the Roman calendar and the Christian liturgical year. Especially popular are Sylvester (New Year's), Karneval or Fastnacht (Mardi Gras), Ostern (Easter), Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day), Pfingsten (Pentecost), Advent, and Weihnachten (Christmas). The new national holiday is 3 October, the Tag der deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity).

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. The arts in Germany are financed, in large measure, through subsidies from state and local government. Public theaters, for example, gained 26 percent of their revenues from ticket sales in 19691970 but only 13.6 percent in 19961997. Public subsidies have been threatened in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries by budget cuts, which have been accompanied by calls for more sponsorship by private industry. In the new federal states of former East Germany, the once very dense network of theaters and concert halls has been reduced dramatically. In Saxony, for example, the Kulturraumgesetz of 1994 (legislation for the creation of arts regions) requires neighboring communities to pool their resources, as, for example, when one community closes its concert hall but retains its theater, while another does just the opposite. Concert- or theatergoers are then required to travel about within the region, in order to take advantage of the full arts program. Still, many major and some minor German cities have excellent theater ensembles, ballets, and opera houses. Berlin and Munich are especially important centers for the performing arts.

Literature. Germany was a Kulturnation, that is, a nation sharing a common language and literature, before it became a nation-state. As is well known, the printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg (c. 14001468) in Mainz about a half a century before the onset of the Protestant Reformation. The Luther Bible, written in the vernacular German of Upper Saxony, spread throughout the German-speaking world and helped to create a national reading public. This reading public emerged among the educated bourgeoisie in the Age of Enlightenment (eighteenth century). Important aspects of this public sphere were newspapers, literary journals, reading societies, and salons. The classical phase in the history of German literature, however, came during the transition from the Enlightenment to Romanticism, the two most important figures being Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (17491832) and Friedrich von Schiller (17591809). The nineteenth century saw a dramatic expansion of the publishing industry and the literary market and the blossoming of all modern literary genres. Following World War II, there was a split between the literary spheres of East and West Germany. German reunification began with an acrimonious debate over the value of East German literature.

Graphic Arts. German artists have contributed to every era in the history of the graphic arts, especially the Renaissance (Albrecht Dürer), Romanticism (Caspar David Friedrich), and Expressionism (the Brücke and the Blaue Reiter).

Performance Arts. Germans are especially well-known for their contributions in the area of classical music, and the heritage of great German or Austrian composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig von Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Richard Wagner, and Gustav Mahler is still cultivated in concert halls throughout the country. Germans developed an innovative film industry in the Weimar Republic, but its greatest talents emigrated to the United States in the 1930s. In East Germany, Babelsberg was the home of DEFA (Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft ), an accomplished film company. With the help of extensive public subsidies, a distinctive West German cinema emerged in the 1970s. Since then, however, attempts to reinvigorate the German film industry have proven difficult, in light of the popularity of products from Hollywood.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

In the course of the nineteenth century, German scientists and scholars cultivated distinct national traditions in the physical sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences, which served, in turn, as important models for other countries. Since the end of the World War II, however, science and scholarship in Germany have become internationalized to such a degree that it is problematic to speak of deutsche Wissenschaft (German Science), as was once common. The most important centers for science and scholarship in Germany today are the universities, independent research institutes, such as those sponsored by the Max Planck Society, and private industry.


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John Eidson


views updated May 14 2018


Federal Republic of Germany

Bundesrepublik Deutschland



Located in western Central Europe, Germany has an area of 357,021 square kilometers (137,810 square miles), which makes it slightly smaller than the state of Montana. The country is bordered by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea to the north; Poland and the Czech Republic to the east; Austria and Switzerland to the south; and France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west. The capital city, Berlin, is located in the northeastern part of the country.


The population of Germany was estimated at 82.8 million in 2000, adding up to a 4.3 percent increase from 1990. The birth rate was only 9.35 births per 1,000 population and the death rate was 10.49 per 1,000, causing a decrease in the natural born population during 2000. The growth of the population during the 1990s was mainly due to immigration . The immigration rate was 4.01 immigrants per 1,000 population in 2000. The population of Germany has increased 21 percent over the second half of the 20th century, but it is expected to contract to 79.3 million by 2025 and 70.3 million by 2050. The birth rate is declining due to a fertility rate of 1.38 births per woman in 2000, far below the replacement threshold of 2.1 births per woman. The population, as in most of Europe, is also aging with a high life expectancy of 77.44 years for the total population (74.3 for men and 80.75 for women in 2000). In 2000, 16 percent of the population was 14 years old or younger, while an equal percentage was 65 years or older.

Germany's welfare system has supported population growth by offering social services, such as old-age pensions, health and unemployment insurance, disability benefits, subsidized housing, and subsidies to families raising children. However, these programs have so far failed to increase Germany's birth rate. Higher living standards and the modern economy restricted population growth during the 1990s. Germany's labor force is expected to shrink, particularly after 2020, and the number of pensioners will grow steadily. This decline in the ratio of active workers to retirees may force Germany by 2020 to bring in as many as 1.2 million immigrant workers annually (both skilled, such as computer programmers, and unskilled) to maintain its industrial output at 2000 levels. To offset these effects, the German government has encouraged policies that sustain the life of native workers such as better health care, nutrition, and adult education. Public social security system reform is also important as the number of taxpayers decreases, causing intense financial pressures on those who still work. Structural unemployment has prompted the government to offer early retirement options to those who have skills and want to work yet cannot find work in their chosen fields. This has increased the pressure on the German retirement system and welfare system as a whole.

Higher living standards in Germany continuously attract many economic immigrants, mostly from eastern and southern Europe and the Middle East. The country received a considerable number of refugees from the Yugoslav wars in the early 1990s. In 2000 ethnic Germans formed 91.5 percent of the population and the most significant minority group was the ethnic Turks (2.4 percent), while Yugoslavs, Italians, Russians, Greeks, Poles, and Spaniards made up the rest. In 1998 there were about 7.3 million foreigners in the country. Some Germans blame immigrants for taking jobs from native-born people, equating unemployment with foreigners. Some occurrences of racism and ethnic hatred have been reported throughout the country but mostly in the poorer eastern states.

The population density was 233.8 people per square kilometer (605.5 per square mile) in 1995. In 1997 about 57.4 percent lived in towns and cities of 20,000 or more inhabitants. Approximately 87.3 percent of Germans lived in urban areas in 1999, mainly in the industrial region of the Ruhr in the western portion of the country. The main cities are Berlin, the capital, with a population of 3.46 million; the free port city of Hamburg on the River Elbe in the north, with 1.71 million; the Bavarian capital Munich in the south, with 1.23 million; Cologne on the Rhine in the west, with 964,000; Frankfurt am Main, a major European financial center, in west central Germany, with 648,000; and Dresden and Leipzig, historic cities and cultural centers in Saxony in the east, each with approximately 450,000 (2000 est.).


Germany has traditionally been the largest economy in Europe and a world leader in science and engineering. It had the third largest economy in the world in 2000, following the United States and Japan. In 2000 it contributed for about one-third of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the eurozone (the 11 member countries that joined the European Monetary Union in 1999), and was considered the economic powerhouse of the European Union (EU). Its GDP per capita of US$26,513 in 1999 and its living standards were among the highest in the world.

Recovering from the destruction of World War II, Germany's economy experienced a long period of strong economic growth that has been widely referred to as the "German miracle." During this period of growth, extensive and generous social services and benefits accompanied high-tech market capitalism . A broad cooperation among government, business, and labor complemented free market principles in economic decision-making. Companies were considered responsible not only to shareholders but also to employees, customers, suppliers, and local communities. However, this domestic capitalist model that linked business to a social conscience was challenged during the 1990s with the reunification of East and West Germanywhich had been divided since 1949and the consolidation and globalization of German businesses. The economy acquired more liberal U.S. traits in order to compete with foreign companies. European integration, including liberalization at the state level, the transfer to a single European market, and the adoption of the single European currency, also contributed to a more liberal economic landscape, which meant that market forces played a greater role in determining the shape of the economy while government decisions played a smaller role.

The integration of East Germany and West Germany after the 1989 collapse of the Berlin Wall brought the economy under significant economic strain. East Germany's large government debt and persistent unemploymentthe product of years of communist control in that countryforced West Germany to offer an estimated US$100 billion annually to the poorer east German states. During the 1990s the shrinking number of tax-payers and the growing number of retirees, high labor costs, greater foreign competition from emerging markets (such as eastern Asia), and high capital outflows (by German banks and corporations investing abroad) also added to the economic stresses of reunification. The integration of the centrally planned East German economy was difficult, and many regions in western Germany have also been slow in restructuring and closing down obsolete heavy industries. Due to high labor costs and the country's image as an over-regulated economy, foreign direct investment in Germany was rather weak through the 1990s. The financial meltdowns in Asia, Russia, Mexico, Brazil and other emerging markets in the late 1990s also afflicted the economy, which was highly dependent on the export of manufactured, particularly capital, goods (machinery and equipment).

The government has pursued economic and social policies, such as budget cuts, tax cuts, and structural reform to encourage growth in foreign and domestic investment and job creation. In 1999 the Future Program 2000 was adopted, calling for a DM30 billion federal budget cut in 2000; radical business, family, and energy tax reforms; and a reform of the mandatory old age pension and health-care system. The government launched the Alliance for Jobs campaign with labor and business to discuss wage policies, making early retirement options more attractive for small and medium-sized firms, providing more work time flexibility, more trainee positions, and cutting overtime work. The government is working to increase the labor market flexibility (the readiness of workers to relocate to areas and industries with better growth perspectives) and to increase international competitiveness by reducing the costs of operating German businesses (by tax cuts and other measures).


Following its military defeat in World War II, Germany was occupied and divided into the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) under western influence, and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) within the communist bloc. On the wake of the democratic reforms in the Soviet Union initiated by President Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s, and the collapse of communism in eastern Europe, the German countries were reunited on October 3, 1990. The political system is based on the Basic Law (Grundgesetz, or constitution) of 1949. The country is a democratic federation of 16 states (Länder) with their own governments and local traditions. Each state has an elected legislature and government whose responsibilities include local affairs such as education and keeping a police force. The federal legislative power is vested in a bicameral Federal Assembly or parliament comprising the Bundestag (lower house), with 662 members (328 elected from local constituencies and 334 elected through party lists in each state for a 4-year term), and the Bundesrat (upper house) comprised of 69 members nominated by the 16 states. Each state has between 3 and 6 votes in the Bundesrat, depending on its population, and these are required to vote as a block. The role of the Bundesrat is limited, but it can veto or initiate revision of legislation passed in the Bundestag when it would affect the interests of the states. Parliamentary elections in September of 1998 brought to office the cabinet of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), and elections were scheduled for 2002. The head of state is the president (a role that is largely ceremonial), elected for a maximum of 2 5-year terms by an electoral college consisting of members of the Bundestag and representatives of the state legislatures. The president in 2001 was Johannes Rau, who took office in 1999, and presidential elections were scheduled for May 2004. The federal executive power is vested in the federal government led by the chancellor (prime minister), elected by the Bundestag on the nomination of the president.

Major political parties represented in parliament in 2001 included the Socialist Party (SPD) and the environmentalist, pacifist Alliance 90/the Greens; the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU); the Free Democratic Party (FDP); and the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS). In early 2001 the SPD (supporting social welfare) had 298 seats. The CDU and its Bavarian sister party the CSU (or CDU/CSU) had 245 seats in the Bundestag. CDU/CSU was a major party that kept office for 16 years under Chancellor Helmut Kohl until 1998. It is generally conservative on economic and social policy but was plagued by corruption scandals in the 1990s. The Alliance 90/The Greens (Buendnis 90/Die Gruenen), with 47 seats, was a junior partner in the federal coalition government. The Free Democratic Party (FDP), with a relatively market-oriented, civil libertarian platform, had 43 seats in the Bundestag and was a traditional coalition partner of the CDU/CSU. The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), the successor party to the Communist Party of the former East Germany, had 36 seats, maintaining its political base in the poorer eastern states.

The center-left coalition government that took office in 1998 hoped to stimulate economic growth and control the rising government debt. Total German government debt stood at DM1,500 billion, or 61 percent of the GDP in 1998, and federal debt service obligations reached 25 percent of federal revenues. Reducing unemployment and fostering the development of eastern Germany were also high priorities. The government worked to enhance German competitiveness by implementing tax cuts, budget spending restraints, growth incentives, and structural reforms. Pension reforms were aimed at limiting the financial pressure on the public social security system and encouraging citizens to open extra privately funded retirement accounts. Fiscal consolidation and pension reforms were expected to reduce the government debt and to allow further tax reforms, thus cutting corporate income taxes and reducing personal income taxes while broadening the tax base. Tax cuts were designed to provide incentives to growth, by allowing corporations to invest more easily in high technology and by supporting an increase in the export of products through a reduction in the overall tax costs of production.

By 2000 the government had implemented significant tax cuts for low-income taxpayers, a modest tax relief for businesses, and higher energy taxes in return for lower labor costs. In 1999 the corporate tax rate for local companies on profits distributed to stockholders was 30 percent and on undistributed profits it was 45 percent, but under the tax reform this split rate was reduced to a single flat rate of 25 percent applicable also to foreign companies that were once subject to a 42 percent corporate tax on total profits. Additional local taxes still pushed the total rate of taxation for individuals and companies up to around 50 percent. A value-added tax (VAT) applied to all sales and services, at a rate of 16 percent or at a reduced rate of 7 percent. In addition to the VAT, there were numerous excise and other taxes, mainly at the state and municipal levels, including tobacco, gasoline, oil and heating oil, alcohol, stamp duties , and lottery taxes. The government decided to tax energy consumption after 1 April 1999 by a levy on the use of gas, oil and electricity; and after 1 January 2000 further tax increases on energy consumption were implemented.


Germany has one of the world's most developed transportation and communication infrastructures. Intensive investment since reunification in 1990 has brought the undeveloped eastern Germany in line with that of western Germany. Transport and communications utilities in Germany have been liberalized following EU requirements. A dense and efficient network of motorways, railways, and waterways connects the country with major

CountryNewspapersRadiosTV Sets aCable subscribers aMobile Phones aFax Machines aPersonal Computers aInternet Hosts bInternet Users b
United States2152,146847244.325678.4458.61,508.7774,100
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium ( and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

centers and the world. In 2000 the total length of paved highways was 650,891 kilometers (404,444 miles), including 11,400 kilometers (7,083 miles) of express-ways. More than 45 million motor vehicles were on the road, causing high road usage and frequent traffic jams, but the lack of speed limits on highways helped alleviate traffic problems. However, many Germans preferred to use the extensive public transport system, or bicycles, instead of motor vehicles. In 1998 the total length of railroads was 40,826 kilometers (25,368 miles) including at least 14,253 kilometers (8,856 miles) of electrified and 14,768 kilometers (9,176 miles) of double-or multiple-tracked railroads. The national railroad carrier, Deutsche Bahn AG (DBAG), was privatized in 1994 but still required government subsidies.

Germany's flagship air carrier, Lufthansa, is among the world leaders in the airline industry. According to EU requirements, Lufthansa is majority owned by EU governments, while the German government has relinquished its holding in it, and the state of Bavaria has reduced its stake in the company. Since the liberalization of air transportation in the European Union in 1997, Lufthansa has fought to retain its dominant position on Germany's internal routes. In 1998 a total of 127 million passengers were carried by commercial air services in Germany. There are 320 airports, including 14 with runways over 3,047 meters (1.89 miles), with 673,300 aircraft departures registered in 1998. The busiest airport, in terms of aircraft movements, passenger departures, and freight traffic is the Rhein-Main airport outside Frankfurt am Main. Munich is the second busiest in terms of passenger traffic and Cologne-Bonn is the second busiest in terms of freight traffic. The other major passenger airports are Berlin-Tegel, Dusseldorf, and Hamburg. The federal government and cities such as Berlin and Cologne are preparing to sell their shares in major airports.

Marine transport is also developed, with major ports on the Baltic Sea, including Kiel, Rostock, and Luebeck, and on the North Sea, including Emden, Hamburg, Bremen, and Bremerhaven. Major rivers ports are at Duisburg, Cologne, Bonn, Mannheim, and Karlsruhe on the Rhine; Magdeburg and Dresden on the Elbe; and Kiel on the Kiel Canal which provides an important connection between the Baltic and North Sea. The most important port for Germany, however, is Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Hamburg is by far the largest port city in Germany, accounting for about 33 percent of all the freight. In 1998 the merchant fleet totaled 8.01 million gross registered tons, and freight traffic shipped through German ports that year totaled 210 million tons. Historically, industrial centers have grown closer to ports due to the supply of cheaper raw materials and coal. In recent decades, refinery and chemical industries have gravitated towards the 1,550 miles-long network of oil pipelines. Fuel transport by pipeline in Germany rose from 74.1 million tons in 1990 to 90.7 million tons in 1998.

The country imports most of its energy sources, including almost all of its oil. In the 1970s and 1980s it worked to reduce its dependence on imported oil by developing nuclear power and encouraging energy efficiency. In the 1990s, environmental considerations, including global warming, became a serious concern, and in 2000 a program of gradual withdrawal from nuclear power was agreed on by the SPD-Green government and electricity producers. In early 2001, a shipment of nuclear waste from France to Germany sparked massive environmental protests in the country, causing many injuries and hundreds of arrests. A total of 19 nuclear plants accounted for about 40 percent of Germany's electricity consumption in 2000. In 1998 the country produced 525.356 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and fossil fuel (coal-lignite, coal-anthracite, and natural gas) accounted for the largest portion while hydroelectricity contributed only 3.2 percent. Like all other industrialized economies, Germany has become increasingly cautious about energy consumption.

Prior to 1997 the electric sector was divided into 9 regional monopolies , with exclusive rights over transmission facilities within their areas. At the local level, there were hundreds of municipally controlled power distributors. City and state governments had direct financial interests in the electric sector through concession agreements and in many cases ownership of local and regional distribution organizations. Between the regional monopolies and the local distributors were about 70 middle-level distributors of electricity. Although electricity prices in Germany used to be among the highest in the European Union, they fell dramatically after the Electricity Supply Law entered into force in 1997. This law implemented the EU power market liberalization directive and went beyond its requirements to create a thorough electric market liberalization in western Germany. By 1999 electricity tariffs for large users fell by up to 30 percent. The local and regional monopolies were broken by permitting third-party access for both commercial and residential customers. In addition, national utilities were allowed to buy from competing power producers, and electricity purchasing pools were created. The industry has undergone deep and rapid restructuring as large regional power generators have merged and sought the integration of production and distribution by purchasing some of 900 local power distributors. The federal government participates, often as a minority shareholder, in local energy utilities and is represented on the boards of supervisory authorities.

Germany is among the world's leaders in telecommunications, served by a modern telephone system and 46.5 million main lines connected by fiber-optic cable, coaxial cable, microwave radio relay, and a domestic satellite system. The state-owned giant, Deutsche Telekom (DT), one of the leaders of the European and global telecommunications sector, became a joint-stock company in 1989, but it was not until January 1998 that it ended its monopoly in fixed lines under EU law. DT was also partially privatized: 28 percent of the company was sold in the financial markets in 1996, 25 percent was sold in 2000, and the remaining shares owned by the German government were scheduled for future sale. Liberalization brought a variety of new service providers with varying prices for services. In the first year after liberalization, DT lost 30 percent of its peak-time long-distance-call business and introduced price cuts of 60 percent in January 1999. Competition from the nearly 200 new telecommunications companies and about 1,300 companies in non-licensed sectors has fueled arguments over network access charges and rates. Growth in the areas of multimedia, mobile communications, and the Internet has also been spectacular. Germany is one of the fastest growing markets for mobile phone equipment, and Germans owned 15.318 million mobile phones in 1999. The government is considering further investments into the area because it still compares poorly with the United States by the ratio of personal computers and Internet hosts per 1,000 people.


Germany's economic structure is typical of highly industrialized economies that often have a very strong services sector. In 1999 about 68.4 percent of the GDP was contributed by services, 30.4 percent by industry, and 1.2 percent by agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting. Approximately 63.6 percent of the country's work-force was employed in services, 33.7 percent in industry, and 2.7 percent in agriculture. The largest industries in terms of employment in 1998 were manufacturing and mining with 8.65 million employees, miscellaneous public and private services with 7.44 million, trade and tourism with 6.28 million, and public administration with 3.2 million. Other major employers were construction, business services and real estate, and transport and communications. Manufacturing has traditionally been the powerhouse of the economy, but its importance has declined significantly over the last third of the 20th century as a result of structural change. Manufacturing's share of the gross value added to the economic sector fell from 51.7 percent in 1970 to 32.8 percent in 1997. In the same period, the service sector increased its share markedly. Private services accounted for 37.3 percent of the gross value added in 1997, while commerce and transport accounted for 14.6 percent. Rapidly expanding branches, like information technology, communications, and the aerospace industry, have failed to compensate for the decline of traditional branches, such as textiles and steel, and the services sector has been unable to achieve high growth rates given that basic needs of the population are generally satisfied.


Agriculture is important for the country's food security and also a provider of jobs. It produces about DM84 billion worth of goods annually and purchases goods for around DM52 billion. Over 80 percent of Germany's land is used for agriculture and forestry. Like other sectors of the economy, it has undergone profound structural changes in the second half of the 20th century. In the western states, the number of farms decreased dramatically between 1949 and 1997 as machines gradually replaced human workers, and productivity increased. In 1950 1 farm worker produced food for 10 people; by 1996 1 farm worker produced food for 108 people. Attracted by a better income, many farmers left agriculture for the industrial and service sectors. Family farms predominate in Germany's old western states, and in 1997, 87 percent of all farmers in western Germany worked on fewer than 124 acres. Individual farm enterprises have also gained ground in the east: in 1997 they accounted for 80 percent of agricultural output from the eastern states, while working on only slightly more than 20 percent of the agricultural land available in the east.

Chief agricultural products include milk, pork, beef, poultry, cereals, potatoes, wheat, barley, cabbages, and sugar beets. In some regions wine, fruits, and vegetables, and other horticultural products play an important role. Agricultural products vary from region to region. In the flat terrain of northern Germany and especially in the eastern portions, cereals and sugar beets are grown. Elsewhere, on more hilly terrain, and even on mountainous land, farmers produce vegetables, milk, pork, or beef. Fruit orchards and vegetable farms surround almost all large cities. River valleys in southern and western Germany along the Rhine and the Main, are covered with vineyards. German beer is world-renowned and is produced mainly, but not exclusively, in Bavaria. Germany has a high level of exports of farm products: in 1997, its exports had a total worth of DM42 billion. Agricultural imports amounted to DM72 billion, making Germany the world's largest importer of farm products.

Important areas of German agricultural policy have transferred to the European Union, particularly in market and price policy, foreign trade policy, and structural policy. EU agricultural reforms in 1992 cut market price supports, replacing artificial prices with government subsidies, and put stricter controls on output volume. Through the reduction of price supports and through additional measures, the reforms promoted more effective farming methods and more ecologically safe agricultural production. The federal and state governments, in their turn, provided financial assistance for agricultural development, land consolidation, village renewal, and construction of country roads. Special funds were available for disadvantaged areas where agriculture was an important economic and social factor. The government's requirements of good agricultural practice required that fertilization and plant protection did not exceed an established maximum, and farmers who used environmentally friendly farming methods received financial compensation in recognition of their environmental policy.


Almost a third of Germany's total area is covered by forest and although the country has been traditionally a net importer of wood and wood products, it is a significant exporter as well. In 1994 it ranked second after the United States in imports of paper, cardboard, and goods made thereof, and first ahead of Canada, the United States, and Finland in exports. Germany's fishing policy is carried out within the European Community's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which is based on the principle of relative stability achieved by established quotas for member states and on exercising control over fish stocks by fixing annual total catch limits.


Manufacturing in Germany holds a declining share of the total GDP and jobs, but it remains the backbone of the economy and is highly competitive internationally. German scientific and engineering achievements fueled its phenomenal industrial growth during the 19th and 20th centuries as the country became the birthplace of television, modern airplanes, and the automobile. The creation of the gasoline motor by Gottlieb Daimler was complimented by Rudolf Diesel's invention of the engine bearing his name. From 1901 to 1930 Germans received a total of 26 Nobel prizes in physics, chemistry, and medicine. Large companies, based on the German ingenuity of the past centuries, account for just fewer than 40 percent of the industry's total revenue, while small and medium-sized companies form the vast majority of firms in the industrial sector, supplying the larger companies with parts and supplies. Many of the large German firms are known throughout the world and have branches or research facilities overseas, including the car makers, Daimler Chrysler, Volkswagen, and BMW; the chemical corporations, Hoechst, Bayer, and BASF; the energy giants, VEBA and RWE; and the machinery and equipment manufacturers, Mannesmann, Siemens, and Bosch. The ownership structure in manufacturing is predominantly private, although the federal and especially the state governments hold equity in a range of companies. The federal government has pursued privatization plans since the early 1980s.


Germany has a distinguished mining tradition, but the industry has taken a minor role in the 1990s and is not able to meet the country's growing needs for energy and raw materials. The chief mining products are brown coal, or lignite, with total reserves at about 43 billion tons, and 24 billion tons of hard coal, or anthracite. Lignite, inexpensive in Germany, is a principal domestic source of energy covering about 26 percent of the electricity production. The country is the world's largest lignite producer, with about 20 percent of global output. Hard coal production, on the other hand, has fallen despite subsidies. In 1950 hard coal accounted for 73 percent of the primary energy consumption in West Germany, but by 1997 its share had fallen to 14.1 percent. Germany imported 12 percent of its coal in 1998, mostly from Poland, followed by Australia, South Africa, and Colombia, and imports were expected to double by 2020, as nuclear power is phased out and hard coal domestic production is further reduced. Oil and natural gas production is mostly limited to the North German Plain and the North Sea, making Germany the third largest oil importer in the world, with primary suppliers Russia, Norway, Libya, and the United Kingdom. Natural gas is imported from Russia, the Netherlands, and Norway.


The German manufacturing sector is large and robust, with leading branches in chemical products and pharmaceuticals, vehicles and transport equipment, metals and metal products, electrical machinery, precision instruments, paper products, and processed foods. Other products include cement and construction materials, optics, electronics, ships, and textiles. In the eastern states, chief manufacturing sectors are electrical engineering and electronics, chemicals, vehicles, glass, and ceramics. The former state-owned companies in eastern Germany, although receiving significant investments from the west after reunification, are generally more unstable, and it is unclear which of them are to survive. Large portions of the old Communist manufacturing industries in the east have been shut down since unification.


Germany is the world's third largest automobile maker after the United States and Japan, and with nearly 730,000 employees and annual revenue of almost DM340 billion in 1999, the automobile industry is a crucial economic player. The industry provides markets for many related industries like machine tools, spare parts, tires, plastics and paints, and metal processing. With all suppliers, automotive services and retailers included, a total of about 5 million workers in the country depend on the health of the automobile industry for their livelihoods. Due to the increasing automation of production and the refocusing of manufacturers on core activities, the distribution of value between manufacturers, direct suppliers, pre-suppliers, and distributors is changing, but as a whole, in 1998, the percentage of gross domestic product related to the development, manufacture, sale and use of motor vehicles amounted to almost 20 percent. Car makers, such as Daimler Chrysler, Volkswagen, Audi, and BMW, are well known throughout the world. In 2000, Daimler Chrysler, with its revenue of 162.4 billion euros, was the second largest company in the world. Of the 5.309 million vehicles manufactured in 1999, 64.6 percent were exported mainly to other EU members and to North America, and German companies also produced 3.55 million vehicles in their foreign operations. Manufacturers from western Germany have opened new plants in the eastern states and invested nearly DM7 billion with the purpose to produce 370,000 cars a year. The German automotive industry has traditionally attracted significant foreign direct investments. The car maker Opel was acquired by General Motors of the United States before World War II, and after the war Ford and other industry leaders opened operations in the country.


In 1997, Germany accounted for nearly 20 percent of the world's machinery exports (Japan was responsible for 16 percent and the United States for 15.7 percent). In some products, like metallurgical plant equipment, particularly rolling mills, paper and printing machines, and woodworking machinery, German exports amounted to one-third of the world total. With almost 6,500 factories in mechanical engineering, German manufacturers have a reputation for customized machinery of high quality. Among the important products are machine tools, including manufacturing systems, power transmission engineering, air handling, refrigeration, air pollution control, vacuum and compressor equipment, and food processing and packaging technology. Only about 5.5 percent of the factories have more than 500 employees and these are the producers of large, complex machines. Some large, well known machinery manufacturers include Mannesmann Demag, a producer of plant engineering and machine tools with a total of 55,000 employees; Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, a maker of printing and paper machinery with 17,000 workers; the Bosch group, a manufacturer of packaging machines and automation technology with 7,000 employees in its machinery division; and Gildemeister, a producer of sophisticated machine tools with 2,300 employees (all figures from 1997). Over 80 percent of the companies in mechanical engineering, however, are highly specialized small-or medium-sized firms with fewer than 200 employees. In 1997 they had a workforce of 881,000 and combined revenues of DM210 billion, almost two-thirds of which were generated by exports. The German aerospace industry, which employed about 61,000 and generated a revenue of about DM21 billion by 1997, led major European technology cooperation projects, such as Airbus and Ariane.


In 1996 Germany was the largest exporter of chemical products in the world, with a share of 15.5 percent (the United States accounted for 14.4 percent and Japan for 7.5 percent). Its chemical industry, with its state-of-the-art technology, innovative products, and emphasis on research, was represented by corporate giants such as BASF, Bayer, and Hoechst, and by a multitude of small and medium-sized firms. In 1998 the industry employed 484,000 people, including 31,000 in the eastern states and generated sales of DM187 billion, while research and development expenditures reached DM11.3 billion. Nearly two-thirds of the industry output was exported, amounting to DM123.6 billion in foreign receipts. International networks of subsidiaries and branches characterized the large chemical companies, active in all major world regions. In the 1980s and 1990s, the chemical industry of western Germany underwent substantial restructuring processes and a reduction of its labor force by 45,000 people between 1991 and 1994, eliminating excess capacity and restructuring the geographical distribution of their production facilities under changing market conditions, growing international competition, new EU health and environmental regulations, and a shift in demand to environmentally friendly products.


The electrical engineering and electronics industry, with revenue of DM242 billion and nearly 850,000 employees (1997), is also among the most research-intensive and innovative manufacturing sectors, including makers of production plant electronics, telecommunication systems, electronic components, programmable controllers, medical systems for diagnosis and therapy, household appliances, and others. The sector is dominated by a small number of large firms such as Siemens, Bosch, and IBM Germany. With annual sales of 78 billion euros in 2000 operations in 190 countries, Siemens employed 197,000 workers in Germany, and 203,000 workers abroad. Precision engineering, optical and process control technology, electromedical equipment, and timepieces generated DM52.4 billion in sales 1997, and nearly 2,000 primarily small and medium-sized firms in these industries employed more than 219,000 workers.


In 1999 Germany was the world's fifth largest producer of steel (after the United States, China, Japan, and Russia) with total production of 42.1 million metric tons, down from 44.0 million tons in 1998. With a workforce of about 830,000, the metal-producing and metal-processing industry generated sales of DM230 billion in 1997. Revenue of DM225.7 billion was reported in 1997 by the food processing industry with a labor force of 503,000. Germany has one of the highest per capita consumption rates of beer in the world and is a major producer of fine dairy products and meat delicacies. Textiles, clothing, and leather goods, some the oldest domestic industries, still play a significant role, employing 245,000 and generating a revenue of DM63 billion in 1997, but most important textile regions lost their significance during the 1980s and 1990s. With 775,000 employees and revenues of DM151 billion in 1999, construction was another important branch of German industry, and the country was considered to be Europe's largest construction market with the relocation of the federal capital from Bonn to Berlin and the eastern states' renovation following the reunification in 1990.



Although Germany is an attractive tourist destination and foreign visitors spent DM31 billion in 1999, it has a large deficit in the tourism balance of payments . Germans normally enjoy a 30-day paid vacation and many of them travel abroad, spending a total of DM88 billion in 1999 and bringing the negative travel balance to DM57 billion. Yet tourism is an important economic factor as approximately 2.4 million people (including part-time and seasonal help) were employed in the industry and immediately related areas such as travel, restaurants, lodging, relaxation and enjoyment, in 2000. Foreign visitors stay on average between 2 and 3 days, combining a visit to Germany with visits to neighboring countries. Approximately 11.7 million foreign guests visited Germany and about 287 million overnight stays were registered in 1997, including a total of 33.4 million overnight stays by foreign guests. About 15.2 percent of visitors came from the Netherlands, 10.9 percent from the United States, 8.9 percent from Britain, and 5.6 percent from Italy.


Retail has undergone profound structural changes over the second half of the 20th century, caused by changing consumer behavior and supply chains. Motorization and more economical bulk-buying have favored the spread of hypermarkets, self-service department stores, and discount stores, and many small retailers have gone out of business. Competition has become harder, profit margins have declined, and the retail food and beverage market is increasingly dominated by a small number of large retailers like REWE, Edeka/AVA, Aldi, Metro, Tengelmann, Spar, Karstadt, Kaufhof and Kaufhalle. The 10 largest retailers accounted in 1999 for over 80 percent of the market, up from about 56 percent in 1990. Internationalization of retail is progressing as more German firms develop operations abroad and foreign competitors like Wal Mart or the French Intermarché group enter the domestic market. Mail-order firms actively benefitted from postal services liberalization and the growth of e-commerce . Due to strong competition, prices are low, the product range is wide, and the leisure component of shopping has increased constantly over the 1990s. A boom of new retail facilities has followed the shortage of retail space in East Germany after unification in 1990.

In 1997 retail turnover represented 34.3 percent of private consumption, totaling DM715 billion, and the industry employed nearly 2.7 million people (over 45 percent of them part-time, 33 percent of the total in food, beverages, and tobacco). Additionally, 60,000 commercial agents and brokers and 55,000 motor vehicle dealerships and filling stations employed nearly 700,000 workers. A total of 294,000 firms operated in the market, most of them small: 74 percent had fewer than 5 employees, and only 2,925 enterprises had more than 50 workers. Small and medium-sized retailers have found ways to compete with large ones by catering to individual tastes, specializing in certain types of products, and offering expert advice and personalized service, and have also increasingly cooperated in purchasing, sales, and marketing.


No sector of the economy has grown as financial services have done over the 1990s. The turnover of the German banks has risen from DM4 trillion in 1988 to DM9.1 trillion in 1997. Savings deposits, stock and security holdings, loans, and cashless payments have all grown. Banking in Germany has traditionally been characterized by the large amount of long-term credit provided to industry and local government and by the regional or local focus of many credit institutions. In the 1990s, however, the industry was looking to foreign markets and turning to the stock exchange.

German banking is represented by private commercial banks, cooperative banks, and Sparkassen (savings banks) organized regionally and supervised and coordinated by the Landesbanken (state banks). Over half of all savings accounts are in the hands of the 563 Sparkassen, usually held by municipalities, and nearly one-third are in the about 1,800 cooperative banks. Germany's second largest fund manager, DekaBank, is owned by the Sparkassen, and the third largest one, Union Investment, by the cooperatives. As of early 2001, there were 340 commercial banks, 13 regional giro institutions, 596 savings banks, the Deutsche Genossenschaftsbank, the central institution of the cooperative Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken, as well as 3 regional institutions of credit cooperatives, 2,411 credit cooperatives, the Deutsche Postbank AG, 33 private and public mortgage banks, 18 credit institutions with special functions, and 34 building and loan associations. Nearly every employee in the 1990s had a salary account and more than 40 million had a Eurocheque card and used this international payment system. Credit cards have also grown in popularity: in 1980, roughly 580,000 people were using them, and in early 2001, the number was 15 million. Since 1980 it has been possible to get cash from automated teller machines (ATM), and the electronic cash system was introduced in 1990 and by 2000 was used at more than 140,000 terminals, especially in retail stores and gas stations.

Germany has 3 large commercial banks which dominated the market after World War II: Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank, and Commerzbank. The merger of Bayerische Vereinsbank and Bayerische Hypotheken und Wechsel Bank (Hypobank) in the late 1990s created Bayerische Hypo und Vereinsbank (BHV), which was second in size only to Deutsche Bank. In April 2000 negotiations on the proposed merger of Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank were suspended due to EU banking regulations and antitrust laws. Deutsche Bank and the other nationwide banks had powerful positions on the boards of some of the largest industrial and commercial companies and were estimated to own 10 percent of total shareholdings in the country. Their role as shareholders came under EU criticism in the 1990s, and banks were expected to divest themselves of many holdings. In late 1998, both Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank announced that they would cut their equity holdings, and Deutsche Bank shifted DM40 billion of assets into a separate company. In their move into investment banking the Landesbanken also attracted criticism from private commercial banks, resulting in investigations by the EU competition authorities into the allegedly privileged status of the Landesbanken. During the 1980s and 1990s, growing competition, declining profit margins, and pressures from shareholders to raise profitability have intensified, and banks have expanded into capital market activities in Germany and into investment and other banking activities abroad. Through Allfinanz (offering insurance, asset management, and banking activities at once), large banks have achieved minority participation in large insurance companies, while some insurers have taken over banks. In early 2001, Allianz, a giant insurer, acquired Dresdner Bank, of which it already owned more than 20 percent, creating Germany's largest company.


The German economy is heavily export-oriented and needs imported goods, mostly fuels and raw materials, so

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Germany
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

with a foreign trade turnover at 48.5 percent of the GDP in 1999 (the world's second largest after the United States) international trade has traditionally played a crucial role. Germany accounted for 9.6 percent of the total world trade in 1999, and its policy of liberalization is consistent with its strong international competitiveness demonstrated by its foreign trade surplus of US$70.1 billion (or 3.3 percent of the GDP) in 1999. As in other major trading nations, Germany's jobs, investments, profits and standards of living have been seriously affected by disruptions of world trade and changes in the global economy.

The country's most important trading partners are the European Union and the United States. In 1999, they accounted together for 67.4 percent of exports and 61.6 percent of imports. EU integration has greatly intensified intra-European trade, and in 1999 the European Union accounted for 57.2 percent of Germany's exports and 53.4 percent of its imports. Germany's most important trading partner continues to be France, and the United States has become both the second largest market for German products, spending DM100.8 billion, and supplier of goods to Germany worth of DM71.2 billion in 1999. Other major markets for Germany are Great Britain (8.4 percent of exports), Italy (7.4 percent), the Netherlands (6.5 percent), Belgium and Luxembourg (5.5 percent), Austria (5.3 percent), Switzerland (4.5 percent), Spain (4.4 percent), and Poland (2.4 percent). After France and United States, major suppliers to Germany are the Netherlands (7.9 percent of imports), Italy (7.3 percent), Great Britain (6.8 percent), Belgium and Luxembourg (5.2 percent), Japan (4.8 percent), Austria (4.0 percent), Switzerland (3.9 percent), and Spain (3.2 percent). About 13 percent of the trade volume is exchanged with the Asia-Pacific region, and Germany's largest trade imbalance for decades has been with Japan. Germany's main exports in 1997 were motor vehicles (DM159.1 billion), machinery (DM149.3 billion), chemical products (DM130.8 billion), and electrical engineering products (DM110.3 billion). Its most important imports were raw materials and energy (25 percent), chemical products (13 percent), consumer goods (13 percent), electronic goods (12 percent), and motor vehicles (11 percent).


Germany has a stable and powerful financial system, and the value of the deutsche mark has been steadily growing since the 1950s. The exchange rate of the deutsche mark to the U.S. dollar fell from DM4.21 in 1955 to DM2.15 in 2001 (the lowest price for US$1 was reached in 1992-1995 at DM1.43). The currencies that gained against the deutsche mark after 1950 were Japan's yen and the Swiss franc. Since 1 January 1999, in accordance with provisions of the EU Maastricht Treaty, the European Monetary Union (EMU) was established and the Deutsche Bundesbank (the central bank) became an integral part of the European System of Central Banks consisting of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the central banks of the 11 EMU member states. The euro became the currency unit but was initially used in electronic transfers and for accounting purposes only. The deutsche mark remained as legal tender until the end of the year 2001, and in 2002 the new euro will replace it completely. On 1 January 1999 the exchange rate of the euro was fixed at DM1.9558. Monetary policy was also transferred to the ECB, its primary objective being to ensure price stability. In 2001 the most important function of the Bundesbank was to ensure the implementation of ECB monetary policy, including banking supervision and management of national monetary reserves, acting as the house bank of the federal government, overseeing payment transactions in Germany, and controlling the issue of euro notes.

In 1997 stock exchanges in Germany reached a turnover of DM8.97 trillion, 60 percent of which related to fixed interest securities (bonds) and the rest to shares. Trading was conducted on 8 exchanges (in Berlin, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, and Stuttgart), yet the Frankfurt exchange was

Exchange rates: Germany
euros per US$1
Jan 20011.0659
Note: Amounts prior to 1999 are in deutsche marks per US dollar.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].
GDP per Capita (US$)
United States19,36421,52923,20025,36329,683
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

the largest and ranked fourth internationally (after New York, Tokyo, and London). In 1992 the Deutsche Börse AG was founded in Frankfurt am Main as a holding company for the Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse (Frankfurt Securities Exchange), the German part of the German-Swiss futures exchange Eurex, and the Deutsche Börse Clearing AG, responsible for securities settlement and custody. Frankfurt is also the host of many local and foreign credit institutions, including major banks and brokerages.


After World War II Germany developed a social structure comprised predominantly of a large and prosperous middle class (about 60 percent of the population), including mid-level civil servants, most salaried employees, skilled blue-collar workers, and a shrinking number of farmers. A smaller, wealthier group is made up of the upper-middle class and the upper class; and the poorer class is made of unskilled white and blue-collar workers, and unemployed and socially disadvantaged people. Unskilled blue-collar workers perform the poorest paid and dirtiest tasks. Foreigners account for about 25 percent of this group, and German women form about 38 percent of unskilled blue-collar workers. In 1992 approximately 7.5 percent of the population in the western states and 14.8 percent in the eastern states were poor (with income less than half the national average). From

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Germany
Lowest 10%3.3
Lowest 20%8.2
Second 20%13.2
Third 20%17.5
Fourth 20%22.7
Highest 20%38.5
Highest 10%23.7
Survey year: 1994
Note: This information refers to income shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita income.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

1960 to 1994, the disposable income of private households in the western part of the country increased 10 times, from DM188 billion to over DM1,867 billion, and in 1997 the disposable income of private households in the whole of Germany reached about DM2,355 billion. In 1997, a 4-member household in the western part of Germany disposed of about DM5,725 per month, of which DM4,293 was spent on private consumption, and only about 57 percent had to be spent on food, clothing, and housing. Spending on leisure, automobiles, education, and telephones rose markedly. In 1997, about 53 percent of the private households in the west and 30 percent in the east owned real estate.

Although living standards in the eastern states and among many foreign workers are considerably lower than among most western Germans, there are no extreme forms of poverty, and extensive social programs relieve to a large extent the economic condition of the poor. In 1992 there were 4.6 million recipients of social assistance, nearly 700,000 from the east. Households with 3 or more children, and single parents were the most likely recipients of social assistance. In terms of education, average income, and property ownership, Germany ranks among the world's leaders. In 1963, at the height of the so-called economic miracle following World War II,

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
CountryAll FoodClothing and footwearFuel and power aHealth care bEducation bTransport & CommunicationsOther
United States139946851
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

social spending excluding education was 17.8 percent of the GDP in West Germany, compared with 13.8 percent in Sweden and 11.8 percent in the United Kingdom. Social benefits were further improved in the 1970s. In the 1990s the cost of social protection increased as a result of the aging population, rising structural unemployment, and the high rate of unemployment in the eastern states. German labor costs in the mid-1990s became the highest of most major economies, primarily as a result of high wages and non-wage social costs.


The German workforce numbered 40.5 million in 1999. Strong partnerships between labor, business, and the government after World War II contributed to the construction of a safe and responsible working environment. German companies have been held responsible for a larger array of social and community issues than is normally expected in the United States. The high environmental, health, and safety consciousness of the Germans has greatly contributed to improving general working conditions. German companies are more hierarchical than their U.S. counterparts, and employee relations are often formal. German workers have had the highest level of education in Europe, and as many as 2.5 million Germans, or almost half of the 15-to 19-year-old age group, annually receives vocational training within a range of about 400 occupational specialties, often on the basis of contracts with preselected employers. Combined on-thejob and academic training for apprentices produces many employees with the skills employers need, but the system has not kept up with the number of applicants and some say it needs to be made more flexible and responsive to the changing demands of the economy.

However, the German economy has been traditionally afflicted by a high unemployment rate (averaging a total of 10.5 percent in 1999, with 7.7 percent in western Germany, and 17.3 percent in eastern Germany), and structural unemployment is estimated at 80 percent of the total unemployment. In addition to the economic problems that contributed to high unemployment levels in 1999, the nation-wide collective bargaining system for worker representation produced wage and work time demands that failed to consider differences between regions and companies. The SDP government that took office in 1998 launched an ambitious program to cut unemployment, and more labor flexibility was reached at the company level, especially in eastern Germany. However, the rising number of companies that leave industrial organizations and negotiate contracts and wages at the company level is indicative of the growing discontent with the existing collective bargaining system. In 1998 only 48 percent of western German businesses were covered by a collective bargaining contract and about 25 percent in the east. These western German firms accounted for about 68 percent of total employees and for about 50 percent in the east. Trade union activism, however, has also been on the rise since 1998 to counter these changes in the traditional German economic model. In early 2001 a new union, ver.di, was formed as the world's largest union with 3 million members, comprising the unions of white-collar workers (DAG), the public sector (OTV), banking and retail (HBV), and postal workers and the media (IG Medien), with the purpose to represent labor across the growing service sector.


1356. Hanseatic League of northern Germany controls all trade on the Baltic Sea and in northern Europe.

1555. The Peace of Augsburg accords Protestants equal rights with those of Catholics.

1612-48. Thirty Years' War between Protestants and Catholics devastates Germany.

1700s. German states of Austria and Prussia abolish serfdom (1781 and 1773, respectively).

1806. Napoleon Bonaparte of France disbands the Holy Roman Empire and occupies Germany.

1833. Prussia organizes a customs union of 18 German states.

1867. Prussia defeats Austria, becoming the undisputed leader of the movement for the unification of the German states.

1871. The German Empire is proclaimed, with a population of over 50 million.

1900s. Germany becomes a major industrial world power and acquires colonies in Africa and the Pacific.

1918. Germany is defeated at the end of World War I (1914-18), a revolution erupts, and the country becomes a democratic republic.

1924. Germany enjoys relative economic prosperity, but millions of workers join the Nazi Party.

1933. During the Great Depression, National Socialist populist leader Adolf Hitler comes to power.

1939. With his attack on Poland, Hitler starts World War II.

1945. Germany surrenders and is divided into 4 occupation zones: British, American, Russian, and French.

1949. The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) is created out of the British-, American-, and French-occupied zones of Germany, while the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) is made from the zone occupied by the USSR.

1951. West Germany is accepted into the European Coal and Steel Community and joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

1961. The Berlin Wall is erected between East and West Berlin.

1968. The European Community is created to organize economic exchanges between European countries.

1970s. West Germany emerges as a leading economic power, along with the United States and Japan.

1990. East and West Germany are unified after Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev loosens his grip.

1995. Schengen Agreement loosens border controls between Germany and bordering countries.

1998. Germany joins 10 other EU members in adopting the euro as the new single European currency.

1999. The capital of Germany moves from Bonn to Berlin.


Germany will continue to be one of the world's leading economies and the powerhouse of the European Union. Its economy will be influenced mostly by European integration, the adoption of the euro, the integration and upgrading of the East German economy, the restructuring of its economic sectors, and its aging population. The ability of the government to cope successfully with these issues may result in a solution to the problems of slow economic growth, high unemployment, high government debt, high tax rates, high unit labor costs, and growing social security and non-wage labor costs. Germany has a special interest in promoting EU enlargement by the accession of eastern European countries but it is also concerned with the possible influx of immigrants and high financial transfers to new EU countries. An important priority of the federal government is fostering the development of eastern Germany, a major burden on the federal budget throughout the 1990s. Germany's responsibility as an influential member of the international community will also grow in areas such as economic assistance for developing countries, environmental protection, and cooperation in combating corruption and transnational organized crime. Future economic stability will also depend on successful European monetary policy and the performance of the other countries within the euro zone and on global economic trends as the German economy becomes more and more international.

While traditional industries such as textiles and steel are declining, growth in the services sector, particularly in finance and high-tech sectors, will be indicative of the economy's development over the first part of the 21st century. Technological advances, notably in the information and communication sectors, will fuel dramatic productivity increases and the further globalization of businesses. The determination to be among the most advanced countries in the application of new technologies forces Germany to expand its already generous investments into that area. Expected new tax reductions will allow German corporations to invest in technologies with higher productivity and to increase exports. Gloomy forecasts of an aging and declining population will foster reforms in Germany's social security system.


Germany has no territories or colonies.


Behrend, Hanna, editor. German Unification: The Destruction of an Economy. London, and East Haven, CT: Pluto Press, 1995.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Germany. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Washington, D.C. An Overview of the Current Economic Situation in Germany. <>. Accessed April 2001.

Federal Statistical Office Germany. <>. Accessed January 2001.

Germany Online. <>. Accessed September 2001.

Smyser, W. R. The German Economy: Colossus at the Crossroads. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <>. Accessed August 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2000 Country Commercial Guide: Germany. <>. Accessed April 2001.

Valentin Hadjiyski




Deutsche mark (DM). One deutsche mark equals 100 pfennigs. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 50 pfennigs and 1, 2, and 5 deutsche marks, and notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 deutsche marks. In January 1999 Germany switched to the new European currency unit, the euro, along with 10 other members of the European Union, as a part of the European Monetary Union (EMU) and the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). The euro was in use after 1 January 1999 for electronic transfers and accounting purposes, while euro coins and bills will be issued in 2002, and at that time the German currency will cease to be legal tender. On 1 January 1999, control over monetary policy, the setting of interest rates, and the regulation of the money supply was transferred from the German Central Bank (Bundesbank) to the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt am Main.


Machinery, vehicles, chemicals, metals and manufactures, foodstuffs, textiles.


Raw materials, machinery, vehicles, chemicals, foodstuffs, textiles, metals.


US$1.864 trillion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).


Exports: US$549.0 billion (1999). Imports: US$478.9 billion (1999). [The CIA World Factbook lists 1999 exports of US$610 billion and imports of US$586 billion.]


views updated May 29 2018



Compiled from the August 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Federal Republic of Germany



Area: 357,000 sq. km. (137,821 sq. mi.); about the size of Montana.

Cities: Capital—Berlin (population about 3.4 million). Other cities—Hamburg (1.7 million), Munich (1.2 million), Cologne (964,000), Frankfurt (644,000), Essen (603,000), Dortmund (592,000), Stuttgart (582,000), Dusseldorf (568,000), Bremen (543,000), Hanover (516,000).

Terrain: Low plain in the north; high plains, hills, and basins in t